Monday, August 20, 2012

Paying the Piper

This was a really weird story that appears to have come to a full conclusion:
TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. — The Town Board is dropping its the lawsuit against Richard Ulloa, Jeffrey-Charles Burfeindt and Ed George Parenteau after being assured false liens filed by the three men have been cleared from the credit history of public officials.

The Thursday night vote to drop the suit was 4-0, with Councilman Eric Kitchen absent.

“The town, along with the affected officials, countersued for economic damage from the liens and also asked for a remedy for the court to have those liens vacated,” said town Supervisor James Quigley. “Well, the liens were vacated as the result of his federal sentencing in his (Ulloa’s) criminal case. So the goals were essentially achieved through the federal court action.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy in December 2011 sentenced Ulloa to five years in federal prison and three years of probation and ordered him to pay $63,000 in restitution for seven counts of mail fraud.
I remember reading coverage about this a little over a year ago. These three were part of the so-called "sovereign citizens" movement, a group of people who believe they are not subject to our laws. The harassment came about when the trio filed a bunch of phony liens against local officials. Well, these officials fought back, and the trio are now paying the price for their actions.

Frankly, I'm glad that the federal judge threw the book at these guys -- because they are potentially dangerous people. From the FBI website:
They could be dismissed as a nuisance, a loose network of individuals living in the United States who call themselves “sovereign citizens” and believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor: They do not pay their taxes and regularly create false license plates, driver’s licenses, and even

However, a closer look at sovereign citizens’ more severe crimes, from financial scams to impersonating or threatening law enforcement officials, gives reason for concern. If someone challenges (e.g., a standard traffic stop for false license plates) their ideology, the behavior of these sovereign-citizen extremists quickly can escalate to violence. Since 2000, lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have killed six law enforcement officers. In 2010, two Arkansas police officers stopped sovereign-citizen extremists Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joseph during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40. Joseph Kane jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle, killing both officers.

The sovereign-citizen threat likely will grow as the nationwide movement is fueled by the Internet, the economic downturn, and seminars held across the country that spread their ideology and show people how they can tap into funds and eliminate debt through fraudulent methods. As sovereign citizens’ numbers grow, so do the chances of contact with law enforcement and, thus, the risks that incidents will end in violence. Law enforcement and judicial officials must understand the sovereign-citizen movement, be able to identify indicators, and know how to protect themselves from the group’s threatening tactics.
The whole page is well worth a read.

You never really know who your neighbors are, do you?

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