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

FBI: Young People Tricked Into Gaining Addresses of Police Officers for ‘Sovereign’ Group

Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on September 12, 2013 - 2:49 pm

The FBI believes an antigovernment “sovereign citizens” group may be behind an effort in Austin, Texas, to find out the addresses of police officers and other first responders through a scam in which young people canvass neighborhoods posing as fundraisers for charity.

Early last month, the FBI issued a “Situational Information Report” warning Texas law enforcement agencies about the activity.

In June, the FBI report says, groups of young people were transported by bus throughout the Austin area and possibly to other states. In teams of at least two, they would knock on doors, saying they worked for a “fund-raising organization” that helped young people with public speaking. They would then ask residents about their occupation. ( continue to full post… )

Nevada Authorities: Possibly More Involved in ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Plot to Kidnap, Execute Police Officers

Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on August 23, 2013 - 11:05 am

Las Vegas authorities may be looking for additional suspects, likely members of the antigovernment  “sovereign citizens” movement, after the arrest this week of a couple allegedly planning to kidnap, jail, torture and kill police officers.

Convicted sex offender David Allen Brutsche, 42, and a woman described as his roommate, 67-year-old Devon Campbell Newman, are in the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted kidnapping. ( continue to full post… )

Sovereign ‘President’ Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison for Tax Crimes

Posted in Sovereign Citizens by Ryan Lenz on July 31, 2013 - 4:07 pm
James Timothy Turner

James Timothy Turner, the president of the largest antigovernment “sovereign citizen” group in the country, was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on Wednesday for tax crimes. Turner was convicted in March of every count he faced, including conspiracy to defraud the United States; six counts related to fake financial instruments; obstructing the Internal Revenue Service; and failing to file a tax return in 2009.

In delivering the sentence, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said he considered two factors –– the vindictiveness Turner had shown in going after federal employees who had challenged his interpretation of the law and Turner’s age. At 57, Turner will be an elderly man when he is released from prison, even if he is released early for good behavior. ( continue to full post… )

Colorado Man Shot Dead by Police May Have Been ‘Sovereign’

Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Hatewatch Staff on June 20, 2013 - 2:31 pm
Lewis Pollard

The investigation continued Thursday into another violent confrontation between authorities and a suspected antigovernment  “sovereign citizen,” a 61-year-old Navy veteran who was shot and killed by police early Saturday morning in the small Colorado town of Fruita.

Authorities say Lewis Pollard, a longtime Fruita resident, brandished a handgun and pointed it at a police officer at his home shortly after he fled a routine traffic stop at 12:40 a.m. Three officers opened fire, striking Pollard multiple times, according to media accounts that quoted a statement from the Fruita Police Department. ( continue to full post… )

Another ‘Sovereign’ Sentenced in Tax Fraud Scheme

Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Commerce, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on June 18, 2013 - 4:31 pm

A federal judge in Seattle had a short, simple message for a 70-year-old “sovereign citizen” accountant who persuaded other antigovernment activists to file fraudulent tax returns that called for refunds equal to their personal debts.

The tax fraud cost the government $700,000 in erroneous payments. For his work, Bell received a 10 percent cut of the refunds paid to others and a flat fee for each bogus return he filed. He also received a fraudulent refund on his own taxes of approximately $35,000.

“Your scheme … is fraud at its core,” U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told Raymond Leo Jarlik Bell. “You are hurting people intentionally, regardless of your adherence to [your beliefs].” ( continue to full post… )

Sovereign Citizen Sentenced for Filing False Liens

Posted in Antigovernment, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on May 31, 2013 - 11:46 am

Even the steel doors and isolation of a federal prison can’t seem to stop some antigovernment “sovereign citizens” from continuing to file frivolous legal documents and liens against government officials and judges.

But, as a recent case in Seattle shows, a relatively new federal law is being used by prosecutors to punish inmates and other conspirators who believe they don’t answer to authority and continue to flood the legal system with spurious documents. ( continue to full post… )

Slain California Cop-Killer Held ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Beliefs

Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on March 28, 2013 - 8:32 am

A 36-year-old software engineer who shot and killed a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer last fall was bipolar and held antigovernment “sovereign citizen” views, an investigation by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office has concluded.

Christopher Lacy’s ideological ties to the sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents generally believe they are immune to federal tax and many criminal laws, were documented with more than 100 interviews and search warrants. But the seven-month investigation failed to determine why he shot CHP Trooper Kenyon Youngstrom on Sept. 4. ( continue to full post… )

President of ‘Sovereign Citizens’ Group Convicted of Tax Crimes

Posted in Antigovernment, Sovereign Citizens, Tax Protesters, Trial Updates by Ryan Lenz on March 22, 2013 - 5:02 pm

A federal jury on Friday convicted James Timothy Turner, one of the nation’s most prominent antigovernment “sovereign citizens,” on 10 tax fraud charges stemming from seminars he held between 2007 and 2009 that purported to teach people how to tap into “secret” government accounts to pay their tax bills.

Turner, 57, of Ozark, Ala., gave a half-hearted wave as U.S. Marshals took him into custody after the guilty verdict was read today in Montgomery, Ala. He faces as many as 168 years in prison when he is sentenced in U.S. District Court this summer.

Turner was convicted of using a fictitious financial instrument, purportedly valued at $300 million, to pay his own taxes and of assisting others who wanted to get out of paying their taxes with similar “bonds” that he claimed would draw on government accounts. ( continue to full post… )

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Leader Goes on Trial for Tax Fraud

Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Ryan Lenz on March 20, 2013 - 12:19 pm

Federal prosecutors opened the trial of one the nation’s most prominent “sovereign citizens” leaders by portraying him as nothing more than a con man who used antigovernment ideology to peddle illegal debt- and tax-relief scams to the financially troubled.

But James Timothy Turner, delivering his own opening statement at the trial that began Monday in Montgomery, Ala., cast himself as the victim. “I discovered things that big Washington government doesn’t want you know,” he said. “They’re trying to shut me up.”

Turner faces 10 tax charges, including conspiring to defraud the federal government, attempting to pay his own taxes with a fictitious financial instrument and attempting to obstruct an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation. He faces up to 164 years in prison and large financial penalties if convicted on all charges. ( continue to full post… )

Florida ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Killed After Allegedly Threatening Police

Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens by Bill Morlin on March 14, 2013 - 1:55 pm

An armed “sovereign citizen,” accused of printing his own currency and defying government authority, was shot and killed in Florida last weekend after a four-hour standoff with a police SWAT team.

Like so many law enforcement encounters with sovereign citizens, the case involving Jeffrey Allen Wright began with a routine traffic stop before quickly escalating. Wright attempted to pay his traffic fine with counterfeit money, then refused to acknowledge courts had jurisdiction over him when additional charges were filed against him. ( continue to full post… )