Veterans say advocate left trail of broken promises

Published: May. 12, 2016 at 6:26 PM EDT
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Norman Dooley was a cook in the U.S. Army, a Korean War veteran who

believes Agent Orange is responsible for the serious medical problems he is still dealing with today.

He hoped Charlotte Krantz would help him qualify for disability benefits.

"And she just seemed to be so promising, and gave us a lot of dreams that you know didn't come true."

Dooley says she agreed to take on his case, and told him his claim was moving forward, but in the last few weeks he learned that wasn't true.

"She told me twice that I had been approved at 100 percent," Dooley said in an interview. "And that I was going to get a lot of money. And of course that made me and my wife happy, you know because we'd be able to get us a home, and stuff like that, but it just didn't come true."

Krantz worked from a storefront on Main Street in downtown Buchanan.

Her name is still on the door, and a flyer in the window explains the services she was offering, but no one was there when we visited Thursday afternoon.

Krantz is currently a resident of the Botetourt County jail.

Convicted of felony bad check charges earlier this month, she's waiting for a sentencing hearing in August.

At this point, Krantz isn't facing any charges related to the veterans' complaints.

Though a newspaper article said she opened her business with a defense department grant, investigators have found no evidence she accepted any money from the federal government.

"To me she seemed legit. She knew the lingo. She knew the right things to say, how to say them," Michael Castillo told WDBJ7.

Castillo was an aviation electrician in the U.S. Navy. He served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield and was off the coast of Somalia during the battle depicted in the movie Blackhawk Down.

He opened a claim for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder three years ago.

And after moving to Virginia from Michigan, he asked Krantz to take up his case.

"There's numerous times in messages that said I should have my payment by such and such a day, it should be in the bank on such and such a day. And it never was," he said.

Castillo says as far as he knows she did nothing to advance his case with the VA, and actually gave him bad advice, which led to the termination of the claim he had been working on for three years.

"To just wake up one day, and find out it's all been a lie, I just want to get that out there," Castillo said. "I want people to know what she's done. And I want it to stop. Nobody else needs to go through this."

We were unable to speak with Krantz in the jail. Calls to her company weren't returned.

We called the attorney who recently represented her, but so far we haven't received a response from him.

We've heard Krantz did provide some assistance to veterans, a wheelchair in one case for example, and food in another.

But Krantz wasn't accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs and so far we haven't found any veterans who say she actually filed claims on their behalf.

Investigators believe there might be more veterans who worked with Krantz and face similar circumstances. They're asked to call Detective Tolley at the Botetourt County Sheriff's Office.