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Mar 29 2013

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Convicted of Tax Fraud

James Timothy Turner, one of those infamous “sovereign citizens” who thinks he doesn’t have to follow the law because the government is some grand Illimunati conspiracy or something, has been convicted by a federal jury of a whole bunch of charges:

Court filings and other evidence at the trial showed how Turner went around the country in 2008 and 2009, holding seminars where he showed people how to submit fictitious bonds to the government in payment of federal taxes. Witnesses said Turner used “special paper, financial terminology, and elaborate borders” to make his bonds look real. Turner himself once sent a $300 million bond in his own name to the Treasury Department. Turner also taught people how to file retaliatory liens against government officials who got in the way of the fake bond process.

The FBI started looking into Turner in 2010, after he and three other people sent letters to all the governors of all 50 states in the actual United States, ordering each to resign within three days or be “removed.”

I find these groups mostly hilarious, like Kent Hovind and Glenn Stoll. They really believe this crap, apparently, and they love to organize these quasi-legal proceedings like “citizen grand juries” to “indict” people they disagree with. It’s just a big game of dress up, but with consequences when they run afoul of the actual law instead of the fake ones they believe in.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    azportsider

    I live in Arizona, and wouldn’t mind seeing my governor resign, except, of course the Secretary of State (next in line under our state constitution) is even worse.

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    Yeah, it’s all fun and games until they shoot some cop’s eyes out. Or worse.

  3. 3
    ThorGoLucky

    One word: Bwahahahaha!

  4. 4
    janiceclanfield

    If you think it’s bad there, the government takes 15% of my beaver pelts and are trying to tell me I have to pay “land tax” on the ice my igloo is on.

    Government theatre is just so much fun!

    Hugs and kisses from Canada

  5. 5
    abb3w

    I think it’s “just a big game of dress up” in much the same way of a priest’s robes during his saying the Mass. These nuts seem to believe that Legalese is a magic language, and that if they can only find the proper charms and incantations to speak and rituals to perform, they will be granted the power to summon and to command, to loose and to bind, and the wish of their heart’s desire will magically be granted.

    I suspect the quasi-religious nature of such sacred ritual means of shamanic mediation might be a key to understanding this class of loon, studying which could also shed light on religious thinking more generally. Or possibly I’m just deluded myself, in a different way.

  6. 6
    Phillip IV

    Timothy Turner (…) has been convicted by a federal jury of a whole bunch of charges.

    That’s what he gets for taking legal advice from Cosmo. Where are your fairy godparents now, little man?

    Seriously, though, some of those “sovereign citizen” groups are not all that harmless, there is a not incosiderable overlap with the militia movement. Those who go by “freemen on the land” are the really harmless goofballs, with their odd ways to state their names (“John of the family Smith”) and their belief that a gold border on the flag in a courtroom indicates that it is an “Admiralty Court”, which only has jurisdiction if you accept the idea of citizenship.

  7. 7
    fifthdentist

    But it always works for Adam Savage when he says: “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Plus, he gets to blow shit up with powerful explosives and not even get arrested.

  8. 8
    Big Boppa

    Yeah, you’re all laughing now but I hear he’s secured the law firm of Klayman and Taitz so it’s only a matter of time before the really serious leagamalizin’ and lawyerization starts and THEN you’ll all be sorry……..

  9. 9
    chezjake

    In a related case reported yesterday, “Sovereign elder” Glenn Unger of Columbia County, NY faces similar tax charges, plus fraud, illegal drug sales, and firearms violations.

    http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Feds-Sovereign-elder-focus-of-case-4390222.php

  10. 10
    John Pieret

    What’s the big deal? He’ll just order the prison warden and all the guards to resign and then stroll out the door.

  11. 11
    timgueguen

    Since we have similar idiots in Canada, it makes me wonder if they’re found elsewhere. The UK would be an obvious place to find them due to the cultural links.

  12. 12
    zippythepinhead

    I have a fantasy about flying in a spaceship to other planets. Can I deduct the cost of antimatter (a trillion dollars a gram!) from my taxes?

  13. 13
    doublereed

    Wow, looking up the Sovereign Dictionary on the SPLC’s site is absolutely fascinating. What strange folks.

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/fall/sovereign-idioticon-a-dictionary-of-the

  14. 14
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Turner himself once sent a $300 million bond in his own name to the Treasury Department.

    And yet they didn’t start looking into him until 2010? Dafuq?

  15. 15
    bryanfeir

    @abb3w:

    These nuts seem to believe that Legalese is a magic language, and that if they can only find the proper charms and incantations to speak and rituals to perform, they will be granted the power to summon and to command, to loose and to bind, and the wish of their heart’s desire will magically be granted.

    There’s a reason that this sort of thing has been referred to as ‘Cargo Cult Law’ in the past…

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