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

Two Charged in New Cases of Alleged ‘Sovereign’ House Theft in Georgia

By Bill Morlin on April 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens

Buying a home can cause big headaches and quickly empty your wallet. Just ask an estimated 20 buyers in Atlanta who purchased vacant homes from two antigovernment “sovereign citizens” who are now accused of selling residences they didn’t own.

Edgar Lee Rodgers and Diana Rowe were arrested last week on charges of racketeering and theft-by-deception charges, authorities say.

The alleged house-stealing, still being investigated by the Atlanta Police Department’s fraud unit, is the latest wrinkle in the sovereign-citizen movement, with similar cases cropping up earlier in Georgia and a few other states as well. The government-hating sovereign citizens think most criminal and tax laws don’t apply to them and they can pretty much do whatever they want — apparently including squatting in and selling vacant houses. The FBI recently identified sovereign citizens as a significant “domestic terrorist” threat.

In Atlanta, Rowe and Rodgers, who called himself “Immanuel Hood,” are accused of locating vacant homes, then convincing unsuspecting buyers looking for hot deals to use the state’s adverse possession law to take over vacant homes.

WXIA-TV reported last week that at least 20 people fell for the scheme, losing not only “down payments” ranging from $1,000 to $9,000, but, in some instances, the costs of initial repairs they undertook on houses they thought they were buying.

Many of the homes involved were owned by an international missionary organization, according to various media reports.

The investigation began when a property owner discovered someone living in one of his vacant homes and notified police, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Friday. The state’s adverse possession law allows a person living in a home for 20 years or more to take legal possession with the owner’s knowledge and permission, the newspaper reported.

In one case, Rodgers is accused of telling a buyer to shell out $4,500, which he did outside the courthouse where the legal papers were to be filed. But when the buyer asked for a receipt, Rodgers allegedly sped away.

In another case, a man paid Rodgers $1,000 and promised another $3,000 when he got the warranty deed. But the deed never showed up, and when that buyer went to the courthouse asking for it, he was told that he wasn’t the legal owner and had no right to the document.

Atlanta Police Sgt. Paul Cooper of the department’s Major Fraud Unit said many of the buyers were desperate to become homeowners and were taken in by the “very convincing, consummate con man,” WXIA reported.

“The irony of it is that while they were out convincing people to buy homes using adverse possession, they both paid a regular mortgage,” Cooper told the Atlanta newspaper.

  • michael seawright

    i had the pleasure of meeting mr.hood while in fulton county during his incarceration. i read his discovery. i was there that he went home because the charges were dismissed…whomever controls your perception controls your reality as well…the media (corporate sponserd) said one thing , when in actuality something else took place. intelligence takes advantage of ignorance in every situation all the while ignorance is bliss…so beware of those who choose the news that hide the views of the real news choosers

  • edgar rodgers a.k.a. immanuel hood

    You guys should have waited to the real truth came out before you joined the band wagon and started trashhing me and my wife.

    As the judge stated we never broke any law. The officers involved were the ones who broke the law.

    Not one of the alleged home buying victims produced any reciept to the Malicious Officers who set this garbage bashing up.

    Not one of the Affidavits recorded and given to those people had my name neither my wife name on the.

    How is it no one produced a contract, reciept, or any proof they were sold a house by me.

    Again you should have waited for the truth to come out before you ran your hate article.

    As far as hating the government, why is it I sent and recieved a letter from the White House applauding me for helping rebuild s.w fulton county from the abandoned homes I showed people how to become responsible for.

    Maybe you should have just looked up the law of adverse possession.
    As the judge said “the only law that I broke was assisting people of the right knowledge of adverse possession, which was to say, praticing law without a license.

    All those people lied to get money so perhaps you would interview them and find out why they lied.

    For everyone that lied I have 5 people who would tell you how happy they are because they no longer lives in the streets, or shelters with their families. On and for the record, it was never proven in court anyone paid us a dime for a house, because we did not sell homes.

    On and for the record, we purchashed our home fCASH OVER 4 YEARS AGO. WE NEVER HAVE HAD A MORTGAGE, WE HAVE ALWAYS PAID CASH FOR OUR HOMES.

    YOU WANT MORE OF THE TRUTH GET WITH ME, OR DO YOU HOME WORK NEXT TIME.

  • Carl Rosenberg

    “You can’t con an honest person”? This nonsensical statement has no other purpose than to justify fraud and theft.

  • A.D.M.

    Dale, they didn’t commit a terrorist attack. They just broke into a house.

  • Dale

    This is not a sovereign citizen or.paper terrorist act. This is just a couple scumbags ripping people off that appeared to be pulling a shady deal themselves. The reporter needs to do their homework. This is like missinformation MSNBC would put out.

  • Erika

    you can’t con a honest person.

    this scheme was riduculous on its face – its likely that most of the “victims” were looking to pull a scam themselves

  • Ryan

    Apologists for SCs have said they’re only about the protection of a person’s rightful property – how do they explain this then? Waiting.

  • Reynardine

    One ancient TV series I wish they’d revive in modernized form is “Racket Squad”. That would be far more useful to the public at large than all the murders, rapes, armed robberies, terrorist incidents, and other largely dark-skinned boo-ghosts they’re regularly being frightened with.

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    And yet according to some commenters here, this doesn’t constitute ‘paper terrorism.’

    While not quite as horrid as the false liens, these fools are still making others’ lives miserable. There’s no protest here. Just confidence trickery, nothing more.