Alabama Sovereigns Convicted on Tax Charges; Buried $350K in Gold

A federal jury in Alabama has found antigovernment “sovereign citizens” Monty and Patricia Ervin guilty of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Ervins, of Dothan, Ala., had for many years paid no federal income taxes on the total of $9 million in cash and silver they collected in rental income from their sizable real estate empire. They were found to have $350,000 worth of gold coins buried in their back yard.

The IRS contacted the Ervins repeatedly with regard to their taxes, court documents show; but the couple replied to requests for meetings with bizarre letters claiming they were not required to pay income tax because they were not and never had been U.S. citizens.

“You have not received any federal income tax returns from me because I do not have any contracts with the federal administration and I do not have any contracts with the ‘Department of the Treasury of Internal Revenue Service,'” the Ervins wrote the IRS in separate but nearly identical letters dated June 22, 2007. “I am not a resident of a numbered plantation of a place called ‘AL’ The situs of my lawful domicile, and the situs for the location where I pick up the mail is on the land within the outer borders of a land called Alabama.”

Monty Ervin’s antigovernment extremism has landed him in hot water before.

Like many sovereigns, he apparently opposes certain forms of government-issued identification, and, according to the Dothan Eagle, once spent 17 days in the Houston (Ala.) County Jail for obstruction of government operations and driving without a license and proof of insurance.

Over the past five years, the Ervins filed numerous documents renouncing their U.S. citizenship. In a 2006 letter to the Social Security Administration, Monty Ervin wrote: “It has been recorded that, from the Kingdom of Heaven, Iesous Christos, trustee for the Kingdom of Israel, completed my diplomatic arrival to ‘The United States of America’ … on March 14, 1951, into a flesh body temple of God, the title to which is held by my trustee, Iesous Christos. ... I do not remember making application for communitarian social security welfare benefits.”

Apparently a subscriber to the common sovereign belief that certain methods of punctuating and writing one’s name communicate an exemption from U.S. government authority, he has referred to himself in writing as “Monty-Wayne, of the family of Ervin;” proclaimed himself “a sovereign Most Christian Prince” “certified by His Most Christian Majesty, Prince George, the Arch-Treasurer for ‘The United States of America’ in the Treaty of Paris of 1783”; and declared, “I am not MONTY WAYNE ERVIN or any all CAPITAL LETTER PERSON.”

In 2008, he claimed to have expatriated himself from the United States and vowed allegiance to the “Kingdom of Israel.”

Patricia sent similar letters to government agencies, trial documents show.

Monty Ervin faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the fraud and conspiracy conviction. Patricia, who in addition to fraud and conspiracy was convicted of structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements, faces up to 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 23.