A Louisiana man described as the “brains” behind an alleged sovereign citizenship scheme that attempted to saddle state court judges and other authorities with billion-dollar debt claims will remain jailed in Utah, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Robert Clifton Tanner, 44, was ordered jailed because of his pronouncements that armed militia men would issue warrants to state, court, and law personnel and order them held in a Louisiana prison. In September, a federal grand jury in Alabama charged James Timothy Turner, self-proclaimed president of the “Republic for the united States of America,” with tax fraud and conspiracy after he failed to pay taxes or paid with fake financial documents. The indictment alleges he set up seminars across the U.S. to teach how to file retaliatory liens against government officials and defraud the IRS using fictitious bonds to pay federal taxes.
There are numerous court actions involving so-called anti-government sovereign citizens who claim they are answerable only to English common law and are not subject to taxation or other actions by the U.S. government. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimated in 2011 that there were 100,000 “hard core” sovereign citizens and another 200,000 dabblers. They've been described as engaging in “paper terrorism” due to liens and debt claims made to thwart civil and criminal actions. At least three states have passed laws making filing fraudulent liens against public servants a crime.