The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
A neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, was evacuated Wednesday after authorities arrested an armed “sovereign citizen” facing eviction and then found bombs and bomb-making supplies when they searched his foreclosed home.
Mark Kulis, 55, was armed but arrested without incident by Franklin County sheriff’s deputies who waited for him to leave the residence before making the arrest at a nearby car wash, officials said.
Then, after investigators found flash powder and at least five assembled improvised explosive devices while serving a search warrant at the suspect’s home, nearby homes were ordered evacuated. One of the homemade bombs, rigged to a motion sensor, was found in an oven in the kitchen, WBNS-TV in Columbus reported.
It wasn’t clear what purpose the bombs were meant to serve. ( continue to full post… )
The arrest in late November of a prominent “Freeman” leader in Canada has underscored the recent rise of the “sovereign citizens” movement north of the border, as well as law-enforcement authorities’ concerns about that development.
Dean Clifford, a self-described “contractor from Winnipeg” who tours Canada giving lectures to paying audiences on how to avoid paying taxes by declaring oneself a “Freeman on the Land,” was arrested by Canadian authorities on Nov. 24 at a hotel in Hamilton, Ontario, shortly after giving one of his talks. He was charged with failing to show up for court hearings regarding his July 19 arrest for alleged traffic violations, and remains under arrest today.
Clifford is well known in the Canadian movement of sovereign citizens, which is composed of antigovernment activists who generally believe they do not have to follow most tax and criminal laws (many sovereigns, in both the United States and Canada, refer to themselves as “freemen.”) His videos, featuring Clifford holding forth on various means by which ordinary people can “divest” themselves of government control and taxation, are popular among followers in both Canada and the United States, where the sovereign citizen movement has long been associated with right-wing extremists and antigovernment violence. ( continue to full post… )
Following in the footsteps of other antigovernment “sovereign citizens,” Robert Carr figured he could take ownership of houses in foreclosure simply by moving in, changing the locks and filing “quiet title” legal papers.
“If you abandon something, you forfeit all your rights and title to it,” Carr told WLWT-TV in Cincinnati, “and title is not a piece of paper. Title is when you grab it and say ‘mine.’”
Prosecutors in Cincinnati did not agree. And neither did a grand jury.
In an indictment returned last Thursday, Carr, 49, was charged with three counts of breaking and entering and three counts of theft for crimes he is alleged to have committed in the Cincinnati suburbs of Springdale and Forest Park. He remains in the Hamilton County Jail under $40,000 bond.
Authorities say Carr tried to steal 11 house in foreclosure. He filed quiet title to at least one in October, claiming that physical possession made it his property. His companion and alleged accomplice, Bethany Firth, 25, was charged with one count of breaking and entering. ( continue to full post… )
A federal trial is slated to begin this week in Albany, N.Y., for an orthodontist long considered an “elder” in the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement and who now faces charges of filing bogus tax returns between 2007 and 2010 in an effort to collect millions in refunds.
Glenn Richard Unger, 62, who often uses the alias “Dr. Sam Kennedy,” is accused of trying to obtain $36 million from the IRS through bogus tax returns. Federal prosecutors have also accused him of scamming another orthodontist, according to the Times Union of Albany.
In 2006, according to prosecutors, Unger told Dr. William O’Donnell that he was giving up his dental practice to do “missionary work” and take care of his ill wife. ( continue to full post… )
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
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… )
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… )
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… )
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… )
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… )