The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Sovereign Citizen ‘President’ Indicted for Tax Crimes

By Ryan Lenz on September 18, 2012 - 4:33 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime, Patriot Groups, Sovereign Citizens, Tax Protesters

James Timothy Turner, the self-styled “president” of the Republic for the united States of America (RuSA), was indicted today on charges of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and several other tax charges, including attempting to pay taxes with a fictitious financial instrument and attempting to obstruct an Internal Revenue Service investigation.

Based in the southeast Alabama town of Ozark, Turner heads what is likely the largest and most organized group of antigovernment “sovereign citizens” in the country.

According to the federal indictment announced Tuesday, Turner is alleged to have attempted to pay his own taxes with a fictitious $300 million bond and to have assisted others who wanted to get out of paying taxes with similar bonds ranging from $10 million to $300 million, the FBI said in a joint statement with the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department.

Turner burst onto the sovereign citizens scene in 2007 with a series of seminars claiming he could help his clients get out of paying mortgages, credit card debt and income tax bills. But with RuSA, which he formed in 2010, Turner went a step further, setting out to form a shadow government that he claimed would lie in waiting for the day the federal government crumbled.

“We, the people of the United States of America, are the most powerful force on earth,” Turner once said in a video posted online after RuSA was formed. “We’re more powerful than any government on earth. … We are a nation of kings.”

  • Reynardine

    No, Erika, it’s not fun. Sometimes, though, it’s an adrenaline rush, like giving blood or maybe skydiving.

  • Erika

    William, anyone who says that going to court is fun is lying. In fact, going to court is so little fun that you can actually be thrown in jail if you laugh at something which is funny (as an aside, the hardest case for me to ever keep from breaking up laughing in court was a case involving a fight between two Klansmen over who the Grand Wizard was).

    Anyone who claims they always win in court is also lying. Not even Clarence Darrow won every case.

  • Kiwiwriter

    These guys have to know at all levels that they are nothing more and nothing less than con artists, plain and simple. They’ve come up with a brilliant bill of goods to sell to dupes, shills, and marks, and they happily pocket the cash.

    I have to admire their gall, but I feel sorry for their marks, who are true believers, and really think they live in the “end times.”

    What amuses me is how so many prophets have suggested the “end times” and have been wrong, over and over and over again. Speaking of false prophets, anyone heard from Bungalow Boob?

    The Thurm be with you.

  • http://MSN william

    Well i once heard tim say going to court was a lot of fun and that he always won in court. Wonder if he still thinks that way now?

  • Eugene

    Interesting, a TV episode of the USA Channel series “The Glades”, which ran this summer, had a plot strangely close to this situation. It was even inferred that that the Sovereign Citizen was from Alabama.

  • http://none Lynn

    Clayton, you are funny.

  • Clayton

    So did he allow the people attending his seminars to pay him with Monopoly money?

  • Bludgeon

    ‘In February 2011, Turner caused a stir among his followers when he sent them a letter insisting that the future “Republic” he hopes to create will be a Christian nation – an idea many sovereigns do not agree with. He lambasted a series of nine U.S. presidents, blaming them for everything from an exploding national debt to “rampant homosexuality” to the “intentional poisoning of our people.” And Turner focused in on President Obama: “He is not even a lawful American citizen,” he said. “He is a Muslim which [sic] are sworn to kill anyone who is not Muslim.”’

  • Erika

    Wait, this guy actually thought he could pay his taxes with a fake $300,000,000 bond (which likely looked totally fake even outside of the outrageous amount – ever see what an actual paper bond looks like? They are extremely ornate with tons of watermarks and the like to avoid counterfeiting – and of course, anyone who really has that kind of money wouldn’t keep the paper bond with them – and definitely wouldn’t send it in the U.S. mail) and didn’t think that the IRS would notice something was wrong and simply refund him the difference?

    Everyone knows that anyone who actually has that kind of available assets will either just pay their taxes because they know they are a tiny percentage of their entire income or will set up a corporation (likely with a name like Drain Capital) and a series of off shore shell corporations and off shore trusts (most likely in the Cayman Islands) so they can avoid taxes the nice and legal way.

  • CenterLeft

    John, click on his name and you will be directed to the answer.

  • John

    Why is this post in “Hatewatch”? What “hateful” thing has he done?

  • adamhill

    James Timothy Turner seems to be a conman. Or a psychotic. Or a psychotic conman. Or a complete idiot.