The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Federal prosecutors in Las Vegas have obtained the second conviction in a case involving two “sovereign citizen” extremists who laundered $1.3 million provided by undercover FBI agents investigating a network of sovereigns.
After a two-day nonjury trial that ended yesterday, Shawn Talbot Rice, 49, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 13 counts of money laundering. He was also convicted on four separate counts of failure to appear in court.
Rice was taken into custody last Dec. 22 after a 10-hour standoff with FBI agents and local police in Seligman, Ariz. He had been on the run for two years after failing to appear in court for a hearing in which prosecutors hoped to revoke an order allowing him to act as his own attorney. ( continue to full post… )
A state Senate candidate in eastern Iowa has abandoned her campaign and released an astounding statement that she has become a “U.S. Senator” in the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA), the largest antigovernment “sovereign citizens” group in the country.
“Let me now announce to everyone in Iowa, I have become aware of the existence of the Original Republic for The United States of America,” Randi Shannon wrote in a letter to supporters. “I have accepted the position of U.S. Senator in The Republic of The United States of America, where I may better serve You and All of The People of Iowa.”
While her announcement might sound benign, what Shannon has done in joining that “Original Republic” is nothing short of diving deep into a fantasy world that has alarmed law enforcement agencies and challenged the rule of law. Sovereigns reject the authority of the U.S. government and generally believe they do not have to pay taxes, get driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations, or follow most other laws. Most do not belong to groups like RuSA. ( continue to full post… )
The man accused of trying to bomb a Dallas-area natural gas facility last weekend appears to be a sympathizer of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement who for years has used the Internet to espouse hatred and suspicion of the federal government.
Anson Chi, 33, faces federal charges for possessing the homemade bomb used in the June 17 bombing in Plano, Texas. The explosion caused only minor damage to a pipeline and a regulator station but badly injured the suspect.
In 2007, Chi posted a YouTube video honoring Ed and Elaine Brown, a New Hampshire couple lionized on the radical right for their months-long standoff against U.S. marshals following years of tax evasion. Tearing up a federal income tax form, Chi professed the belief, common among sovereigns, that Americans are secretly permitted to not pay the tax. ( continue to full post… )
An antigovernment “tax-cheat guru” who claims the federal government has no authority over him found out differently last week when a judge ordered him to spend 12 years behind bars and pay $6.2 million in restitution.
Ronald L. Brekke, 55, of Orange County, Calif., helped nearly 1,000 people in three countries file for a total of $763 million in bogus tax refunds from the U.S. Treasury.
IRS officials say they “flagged the vast majority” of the filings from Brekke and his clients as frivolous. Even so, some $14 million in tax refunds was paid out before the agency detected the fraud. ( continue to full post… )
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. ( continue to full post… )
Aiming squarely at the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, Georgia’s governor on Monday signed a law that will make it a felony to file fraudulent liens against public officials or employees, a tactic known as “paper terrorism.”
Sovereign citizens, extremists who believe they don’t have to obey most laws or pay taxes and have been known to react murderously to perceived incursions on their freedom, have wreaked havoc in Georgia over the past several years.
In one of the first cases of its kind, 12 sovereigns in North Georgia were charged last March with stealing properties worth millions of dollars, including mansions and a strip mall in Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead neighborhood. They are being prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a federal law originally drafted to fight organized crime but now sometimes applied to other forms of criminal enterprise. ( continue to full post… )
A note to right-wing extremists: When the John Birch Society (JBS) condemns your movement as a “fringe group” whose followers are “paranoid” “conspiracy theorists” who “occasionally go off the deep end … when confronted with reality,” it’s time for some serious soul-searching. ( continue to full post… )
Not even antigovernment “sovereign citizen” James Timothy Turner, who has made a living teaching people sovereign tactics he claims will allow them to beat the banks, can save himself when it comes right down to it.
On Feb. 22, Hatewatch has learned, the People’s South Bank in Ozark, Ala., foreclosed on two parcels of rural land totaling roughly 52 acres after Turner failed to make payments on a mortgage dating to June 2006. The same day the foreclosure was filed, the land was auctioned off on the steps of the Dale County Courthouse. The bank bought the land, and there wasn’t a peep of protest from Turner, a man who tells others how to defy the government. He didn’t even show.
But it’s the weeks ahead that have some in law enforcement worried. Will the man who has professed defiance of government for years stand idly by as the courts deliver an eviction notice? Or will the “president” of the Republic for the united States of American (RuSA), the nation’s largest sovereign group, stand firm against what he has called “the big tyrannical federal government” and its banks? ( continue to full post… )
Arizona officials say a murder suspect who used language reminiscent of that employed by antigovernment “sovereign” citizens during court appearances must undergo a mental competency exam before returning to court, the Arizona Republic reported yesterday.
Michael Lee Crane, 31, of Mesa, Ariz., pleaded not guilty yesterday to three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, two count of armed robbery, and several counts of arson and theft. He is accused of killing Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro in their home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., home on Jan. 30, then setting fire to the couple’s home in an attempt to conceal the crime. ( continue to full post… )
An Alaska man who is challenging President Barack Obama’s eligibility for office on the grounds that the president is a “mulatto” based his complaint on an argument common to the neo-Confederate and antigovernment “sovereign citizen” movements, Hatewatch has learned.
In a complaint filed Tuesday with the Alaska Division of Elections, Gordon Warren Epperly of Juneau argued that Obama isn’t eligible for office because, as a person of mixed-race descent, he is not a “natural-born citizen” of the United States. ( continue to full post… )