PALM DESERT, Calif. - Palm Desert-based sheriff's detectives arrested Jason Hitt on suspicioun of embezzling about $200,000 from the Marine Scholarship Organization.
Chuck and Terry Adrianson of Palm Desert started the U.S. Marines Scholarship Desert Cities organization, a group that provides academic scholarships to current and former marines.
"It got to the point that I was having trouble seeing. I had glaucoma in one eye. It tried to be fixed three times but it hasn't worked so far, so I was looking for someone to take the scholarship over," Chuck said. "I contacted many people in the area here, but I felt not comfortable with any of them."
The Adriansons said they were walking by this optomotrist when they saw a lot of marine memorabilia in the window, which prompted them to go inside. That's when they met Jason Hitt.
"He acted like he was a part of the family. He called me mom, called him pop," Terry said.
Last November, the Adriansons found out Hitt had been lying about his financial situation and even aspects of his identity.
Friday, Palm Desert- based sheriff's detectives arrested Hitt.
"I believed him because marines trust marines," Chuck said. "To steal from another marine is a sin, and you're taught that in boot camp."
"It was just like a relief, a relief. It's hard to believe that somebody that actually was in the marine corp would take money from wounded warriors," Terry said.