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’ Leader Indicted on Tax Crimes in Major Crackdown

By Ryan Lenz on January 8, 2013 - 4:24 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens

In what appears to be yet another sign that the federal government is cracking down hard on key figures in the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, officials in upstate New York last week unsealed a grand jury indictment of Glenn Richard Unger, who goes by the alias of Dr. Sam Kennedy, on charges that he filed fraudulent federal tax forms.

The seven-count indictment against Unger, 62, of Ogdensburg, N.Y, was brought by a federal grand jury in Syracuse last month, the Watertown Daily Times reported today. The indictment accused Unger, who the Southern Poverty Law Center profiled as a major sovereign leader in 2010, of filing fraudulent tax-refund claims amounting to $36 million between 2007 and 2011. Unger was arraigned last week and remains in custody while a judge considers setting a bond for him.

While Unger is hardly the first sovereign citizen to face charges for tax crimes, his arrest — coupled with the arrest last year of sovereign guru James Timothy Turner — suggests a major effort by the federal government to go after longstanding sovereign icons. The importance of that effort is reflected by the fact that the FBI last year publicly identified sovereigns as part of a “domestic terrorist” movement.

As host of the popular online radio show “Take No Prisoners,” Unger was certainly a leader. One of the more secretive figures in the movement, Unger did not maintain a marketing website and didn’t allow followers to videotape his speaking engagements. He marketed his “Beneficiaries in Commerce” program as a cure-all for everything from tax bills and debt elimination to what he calls “prison extraction.” But his influence ran deep.

Unger was one of the original “elders” of the now-defunct Guardians for the free Republics, which in 2010 became the focus of an FBI investigation after the group sent letters to all 50 state governors demanding they leave office. In the scrutiny that followed, Unger began fighting for control of the Guardians, which collapsed amid the tensions, only to regroup months later as the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA) under Turner’s leadership. RuSA has since grown to become the largest and most organized sovereign group active in the country.

But last September, the Justice Department got Turner, too. A federal grand jury indicted Turner for old tax crimes, including allegedly attempting to pay his own taxes with a fictitious $300 million bond and giving assistance to others who wanted to get out paying taxes with similar bonds. Turner was denied bond and remains in federal custody awaiting trial later this year.

A jury trial for Unger has been scheduled for March 4 in Binghamton. If found guilty, Unger faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

  • Jamo Lorswal

    It’s nice to see all the intelligent ducks lining up for parade. Since the SPLC speaks so eloquently, what exactly has it done to eliminate poverty in the south/ Conspire to kill off civil rights activists? Stick a few corporate African Americans in office for profit? You’ve been exposed… a long long long time ago. What now more intelligence?

  • Ziz Osnapper

    15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him(Christ) in his talk.

    17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute (pay taxes)unto Caesar(the government), or not?

    20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

    21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

    So, the question is, What belongs to Caesar? Is ALL taxation lawful?

  • Katherine

    Well-respected? What are you talking about Wanda Jean?
    He was a crackpot dentist. He had to pay someone to take his practice (due to liabilities from work not performed for insurance already collected), and he scammed them in the process.
    He destroyed my friend’s daughter’s mouth.
    Allegedly his greatest success was selling prescriptions. Not having bought any from him myself, I have to use the term allegedly there.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • michaelphelps

    Hi Keith,
    Re: “They know people are frustrated and scared;….”
    Why, in your opinion, are people frustrated and scared ? Scared of what? Frustated about what?

  • Kiwiwriter

    The irritating part of this story is that the leaders of these scams know damned well that they are con men, robbing their suckers, and don’t believe a word of the rubbish they spout.

    The sad part of this story is that the suckers they fleece DO believe all this rubbish. In a way, they get ripped off twice. First, they feel robbed by the society they live in, which they see as conspiring to prevent them from living like the Kardashians, and they buy this “sovereign citizen” garbage as the explanation for their failures — not because they didn’t stay awake in high school economic class.

    The second rip-off is when they give away their hopes and limited fortunes to these guys, hoping for that big payoff, and instead lose what little they have. I guess then they just double their hatred for the IRS.

  • Wanda Jean

    Dr. Sam Kennedy was a well respected and popular orthodontist for many years with a state of the art practice in northern NY. He was a dynamic individual. However his real name was Glenn R. Unger. The alias came after he eventually sold his practice and moved away. It is difficult to believe that someone so intelligent and talented could fall under the spell of such extremism and become a leader in a movement which does not make sense and is full of scams.

  • A Walkaway

    While they weren’t going by that name (sovereign citizens) back in the late 70s and early 80s, they DID try to recruit me – the people (one of which was a dentist but referred to himself as a doctor in ways which seemed odd) were very active in the “tax protesters” movement and many – if not nearly all of the things I’ve read about the movement was in place already back then. They were also consummate con artists even then… but since I was dirt poor got nowhere with me – Thank God!

    When I read this article, I wondered because I swear that the dentist went by the name Dr. Samuel Kennedy. (If he ever lived in Florida, I’d almost be sure I’d encountered him.) He and several others were trying their best to recruit out of the Assemblies of God (when I belonged to that cult), then changed over to some of the local mainstream churches (where I encountered him one more time).

    The dentist was a leader even then, and had all sorts of questionable things going on (scams as I realize now).

    They even tried to get me to throw away my driver’s license… and go without one. Even though I was a kid, I wasn’t that stupid.

  • keith

    You may be right about such ‘leaders’ being merely conspiracy conmen (they always rise in appeal during tough financial times – check the 70’s ) – but the scarier problem is that they attract not a few crackpots, but MANY. They use associations with other groups, or network like anyone else can via the web etc, to hide at the bottom of a highly layered ‘cake’ of hate. These people, much like Alex Jones, appeal to growing fears and panic ( well founded ) by so many jobless people. They know people are frustrated and scared; that people who did ‘everything right’ according to society’s dictates of x, y, and z to become a success are now facing terminal unemployment due to age (which might explain why groups are so post-middle aged OR very young adults since both groups experience ‘ageism’ in hiring); and they know that these groups want to DO something, anything, to altar their depressed situations. Toss some pseudo-facts at them and then send the down the rabbit hole till they can’t see between fact and fiction; normal anxiety and paranoia; unifying principles and divisive ones. I am so thankful for this site and the efforts of the SPLC and other groups such as themselves and the people who work in them. It helps to give every citizen the courage to say,”NO!” to divisive and hateful rhetoric.

  • Erika

    i kind of get the impression that most of these sovereign citizens are more motivated by looking to make money (using some of the most foolish schemes imaginable) than ideology – and that many of the leaders are just con artists peddling “get rich quick schemes.” Anyone who takes tax advice from them deserves what they get – especially since they are not smart enough to resist using their “get rich quick” schemes themselves. The smarter anti-tax snake oil salesmen while still conartists who charge big money for completely bogus information are at least smart enough to not use their schemes themselves – which makes them very difficult to convict (even though their clients get nailed)

  • David Cary Hart

    If you have some excess brain cells that you don’t mind losing, take a look at the “legal” papers filed by Turner this week: http://www.republicoftheunited.....documents/

    Behold the crackpottery. Apparently, the claim is that the IRS is a foreign agency and that Title 18 (criminal procedure code) was never passed by Congress. Moreover, the Uniform Commercial Code somehow supersedes the criminal code (which doesn’t exist in the first place).

    Little wonder why the judge did not permit a pro se defense – or get “papered” into the 22nd century. These crazy people are quite persistent. Oy veh.

  • Aron

    Wah, wah, wah!!!

    *sad trombone*