New Multi-Million Dollar Scam Takes off in Antigovernment Circles

The latest multi-million dollar scam in the world of antigovernment zealots is taking off across the nation.

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The redemption craze has found a particularly receptive audience in prison, where periodicals like The American's Bulletin often circulate. Last June, Robert Kelly wrote that he was "months behind" in his prisoner correspondence.

Perhaps most surprisingly — given the white supremacist roots of the scam — redemption also has found favor among black nationalists, including those who call themselves Moorish Nationals and claim to be exempt from U.S. laws.

One of the men recently indicted in Ohio was Charles Bailey (a.k.a. Shareef Malik El Bay), who purports to be the "prime minister" of the Great Seal of Moors. In Philadelphia last year, another 10 black separatist redemptionists were tried on charges of creating false property deeds and forging checks to pay child support and buy cars.

In East St. Louis, Mo., redemptionist Federick R. James (who goes by Nkosi Niyahuman-Dey) tangled up the legal process for months when he was brought in on charges of selling marijuana.

A member of the Cahokia Great Seal Moors, James refused to answer questions, claimed he was not subject to the court's jurisdiction, and sent the judge a bill for $151 million — half a million for each time the judge mentioned his name, which James said was copyrighted. In the end, James was tried and convicted on drug charges, along with two counts of contempt of court.

With outcomes like these, the promise of redemption eventually may fade away. But extremists and con artists will surely find something else to take its place.

For true believers, paper attacks on the government they hate will always be attractive, holding the promise of action without the dangerous necessity of taking up arms. For crooks who masquerade as patriots, the attraction of an audience that already believes in the wildest conspiracy theories is just too good to pass up.