The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Another ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Learns Fake Claims Can Lead to Real Arrest

By Robert Steinback on July 5, 2011 - 12:19 pm, Posted in Sovereign Citizens

Declaring yourself a “sovereign citizen” exempt from government authority and tax obligations must be something of a rush – until that government decides to slap handcuffs on you.

Consider the case of Marshall Edwin Home, 81, a self-described multibillionaire and dispenser of highly questionable financial advice who on March 16 filed to run for mayor of Tucson, Ariz. Evidently relying on “sovereign” rationale, Home – on the very same day he declared himself a mayoral candidate – filed documents in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking to place the United States itself into bankruptcy, asserting that he personally had a $3 billion claim against the federal government. (Home withdrew from the mayoral race in June.)

The government doesn’t look too kindly on phony bankruptcy claims. On July 1, Home was arrested and charged with two counts of making false claims in bankruptcy. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the government’s press release, Home operated the “Individual Rights Party; Mortgage Rescue Service,” through which he would charge clients $500 to “make the foreclosure process stop.” The government alleges that on his website Home told clients that their property “would become part of his ‘larger overall bankruptcy liquidation.’” That means, according to the federal complaint, that “Home filed or caused to be filed 173 false claims against the United States … total[ing] over $2.5 trillion.” The criminal complaint is linked to two of those claims, one for $2.5 billion and another for $50 million.

“The anti-government paranoia of so-called ‘sovereign citizens’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they use their false claims and fraudulent practices to rip off others,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in the press release.

Sovereign citizens generally believe they can remove themselves from the jurisdiction of state and federal government, so that they don’t need to pay taxes or use any form of government documentation, such as driver’s licenses or automobile license tags. Some sovereigns believe they can discharge debts by accessing secret accounts supposedly created by the government in their names at birth – accounts that, of course, don’t exist.

Among Home’s clients was John Apostolou, a Greek immigrant who rose from cook to owner of Giordano’s Pizza, a popular Chicago-based chain of 45 restaurants nationwide. During the course of 23 years, Apostolou’s various businesses amassed $45.5 million in bank debts and faced bankruptcy. Apostolou turned to Home for help and, apparently at Home’s direction, filed a series of legally bogus affidavits in court. One asserted that Apostolou and his wife, who co-owns the business, don’t recognize U.S. currency and are free of any legal constraints. Another sought to terminate Apostolou’s bankruptcy by alleging bank fraud and other misdeeds. In May, a clearly annoyed bankruptcy judge seized control of the restaurant chain from the Apostolous, placed it in the hands of a trustee, and barred Apostolou from setting foot in the establishment. Proceedings are still under way.

Though Apostolou claimed he didn’t read the documents Home directed him to file, as of mid-June he still believed Home could deliver him from financial ruin, even promising to give Home a share of the business should he regain control. Home filed papers with the bankruptcy court claiming to have a $150 million lien against Giordano’s – apparently part of a scheme to get the pizza chain back for the Apostolous. “My claim is solid, legal and secured,” Home told the Chicago Tribune at the time. “I will be in control of the business. You can count on it.”

About all Home can count on right now is that he is in a world of trouble.

With more than a dollop of irony, Home told the Tucson Weekly that he had entered the mayoral race because of “all the lies and the deceits. How about all the thievery? There doesn’t seem to be any integrity in the government.”

One might wonder about Home’s claim of being a multibillionaire. Could that merely be based on his $3 billion claim against the U.S. government? He wouldn’t go into details when pressed by the Tucson Weekly.

“That’s private,” Home told the newspaper. “I’ve been described as a multi-billionaire. We’ll leave it at that. Why? You can’t accept it at that?”

  • adam deskins

    i am a sovereign citizen have been since the day i was born and its funny when evry1 else has to stop and comply with road blocks i show I D and i proceed without further questioning y do u think that is so there obviously is a difference althow i dont have 2 pay fed taxes i also dont qualify for any government services so there r pros and cons

  • wisdom

    Honestly people!
    until you can distinguish law and legal you will remain in the matrixs. Does everyone know that the “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS A CORPORATION? AND THE UNITED STATES? Do you know the law language? Corporation=: legal fictitious person….. legal= corporation. so you do your homework. as well as check the ” declaration of independence , it doesn’t mention the word ” democracy ”

    fyi: this nation is in debt because the people are not using there” accepted for value” human rights.
    why would the U>S> government have such a terminology as ” legal fictitious person”? A FICTIONAL LEGAL CHARACTER ?????? yes …… there the word goes again “legal” which means what everybody ????? Corparation.

    knowledge is power. and fyi: the united states operates under the color law. we are human . people around the world only know nationalities not black white. so therefore you have the united nation which only recognizes nations not race.

  • Newman

    Nora-Thanks and shame on the alphabet agencies for overpriced investigation of everyone who comes to this websute.

  • Nora

    The comments here are laughable. Ignorance and opinions are not based in fact and are the work of a closed mind. Go on paying the taxes you don’t owe, and sending your river of money to the Federal Reserve, which is a private banking cartel owned by wealthy foreigners who do not have the best interests of the American people in mind. When your children wake up homeless on the continent our colonial forefathers conquered, perhaps you will look back at your foolishness and regret the fact that you assigned responsibility for your freedom to a corrupt government who plans to enslave you and force you to worship Lucifer, and if you won’t–to kill you.

  • James Mc Mullan Sr.

    These people are like you said darpinion
    they want something for nothing. They
    are ignorant, lazy, stupid. I got someone
    I know us on this stupid need. It is work
    of the devil.

  • James Mc Mullan Sr.

    I know somebody right now
    is dame fool and let that ****
    run them them crazy. But
    they gone be in for it.

  • darpinion

    I like how we can lump every person who claims sovereign citizenship into one category and assume they’re all just like one another. You people are about as narrow minded as it gets.

  • PSzymeczek

    These people get into this mind set for one reason – to avoid paying their fair share of taxes to support the commons.

  • Karla

    Let me get this straight. The pizza man immigrates here from Greece, becomes prosperous, and now wants to reject American laws.

    I have a suggestion, let’s deport him back to Greece where he knows and presumably accepts the laws. That should make him happy.

  • Jim Carlson

    Why do these ‘sovereign citizens’ just sound like garden variety sociopaths?

  • A walkaway

    The talk about freedom – funny that these people also assume freedom means being free to limit other people’s freedom. That’s what happens when they rip people off.

    I’ve had those jackasses try to recruit me since 1979. Their argument then was that taxes shouldn’t be used to support “lazy good-for-nothing welfare bums” and that by doing so, the government overstepped it’s bounds. Their arguments have become more sophisticated, but it boils down to pure greed and selfishness (and I can argue fear of poverty).

  • Lt. W. D. McAnally

    Everything said and done, these people are difficult for local law enforcement to deal with. When enforcing the law, doing it properly and professionally opens you up to the “Sovereigns” to filing false lien filed against your home, and there is no one to protect your family.

  • geoear

    “…Apostolou and his wife, who co-owns the business, don’t recognize U.S. currency and are free of any legal constraints.”

    That’s very interesting because every time I eat at Giordanno’s they want me to pay with U.S. currency!

  • Sam Molloy

    Here in Kentucky the State prisoners make the license plates for the State. It’s one of the better jobs in prison, paying , someone correct me if I’m wrong, some two dollars a day.

  • hannah

    Most people can’t handle total freedom, anyway. Most people need some kind of guidance.

    Maybe I’ve been brainwashed, but I don’t mind paying taxes in order to have somebody else be “in charge.”

    I don’t want garbage on the roads. I like traffic lights. I like that people aren’t allowed to beat each other up.

    I do NOT like paying the salaries of corrupt government officials, though.

  • CIA Jon

    I’m a big free speech advocate

    I guess there is an exception if you declare a “sovereign citizen” a exempt from government authority and tax obligations. I mean if you declare yourself a close agent of Al-queda . Don’t expect not to get arrested

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    The funniest thing about these people is that they get into this ideology out of a desire for some kind of total liberty, and then as a result and an anti-social attitude toward simple rules and regulations, they end up doing things which will definitely attract the scrutiny of police and the law in general.

    Yes, driver’s licenses and plates are such a tool of oppression which restrict our freedom, so obviously we can attain total freedom by making our own licenses and plates!! Then we can claim persecution when the police pull us over.