A federal jury in Montgomery, Alabama, has found James Timothy Turner, also known as Tim Turner, guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempting to pay taxes with fictitious financial instruments, attempting to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service, failing to file a 2009 federal income tax return and falsely testifying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, the Justice Department said.
Based on the evidence introduced at trial and court filings, Turner, the self-proclaimed president of the so-called sovereign citizen group Republic for the United States of America, traveled the country in 2008 and 2009 conducting seminars teaching attendees how to defraud the IRS by preparing and submitting fictitious bonds to the United States government in payment of federal taxes. Although the evidence at trial revealed the bonds are fictitious and worthless, witnesses testified that Turner used special paper, financial terminology and elaborate borders in an effort to make them look real and more likely to succeed in defrauding the recipient. Turner was convicted of sending a $300 million bond in his own name and of aiding and abetting others in sending fifteen other “bonds” to the Treasury Department to pay taxes and other debts.
The evidence at trial also established that Turner taught people how to file retaliatory liens against government officials who interfered with the processing of fictitious bonds. Turner filed a purported $17.6 billion maritime lien in Montgomery County, Alabama, Probate Court against another individual. Finally, evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the FBI began an investigation after Turner and three other individuals sent demands to all 50 governors in the United States in March 2010 ordering each governor to resign within three days or be removed.
“The jury’s verdict in this case sends a message that defrauding the government and others through the use of bogus financial documents will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally. “Disagreement with the law is no excuse for the real harm caused by these self-interested tax defiers.”
“These sovereign citizen groups use these retaliatory tax liens and fraudulent tax schemes as weapons against the United States and its citizens,” said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart. “It is only the hard work of law enforcement that can stop these criminals from using these financial weapons.”
Turner remains in federal custody pending sentencing. Turner faces a potential maximum prison term of 164 years, a maximum potential fine of $2,350,000 and mandatory restitution.