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.”