If you are involved in fraud detection and prevention in the mortgage industry or have attended an event where I have spoken over the past few years, you are no doubt aware that the Sovereign Citizen movement has been targeting the mortgage industry. The one most prominent in my mind is, of course, the Dorean Group. Its ringleaders, Scott Heineman and Kurt Johnson were a were a frequent topic on the blog during 2005 and through their trial, sentencings and appeals. Although Sovereign Citizens at times become engaged in mortgage fraud because of certain beliefs concerning the history of our currency and a misreading of the law, their impact and involvement in the mortgage industry is tangential to their ideology – which is grounded in conspiracy theory. In 2013, I wrote an article entitled Fraud From the Fringe – the Sovereign Citizen Movement and the Rise of Mortgage Elimination Schemes, published in Mortgage Banking Magazine, that provides more explanation. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League also have resources on Sovereign Citizen ideology.
I am always interested in news on Sovereign Citizen activity and prosecutions – even when not related to mortgage. Some of the conduct they engage in can be incredibly harassing to the people they target – be it a private citizen or a government figure. The everyday engagements that give rise to retaliation can be very minor in the eyes of the non-Sovereign Citizen and yet the backlash can be astounding – the worst, of course, being examples of public safety officers gunned down during traffic stops. But, ordinary, every day social or business interactions can also result in economic threats or the filing and recording of legal documents that can be difficult to appropriately address.
Yesterday, in Houston, Texas, a federal jury convicted 44–year-old Tyrone Eugene Jordan, a sovereign citizen for retaliating against a federal judge and prosecutor by making false claims. The jury convicted him of three counts of retaliation against a federal officer or employee by false claim. Evidence and trial testimony revealed that in October 2014, Jordan filed a fraudulent lien—a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Financial Statement—with the Texas Secretary of State which claimed that a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of Texas owed the defendant $6,534,500. Furthermore, in January 2015, the defendant knowingly filed two separate fraudulent documents (Affidavit of Obligation Commercial Lien) with the Harris County Clerk’s Office—Real Property Department claiming that the federal prosecutor and a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of Texas were Lien Debtors to the defendant. Testimony also revealed that the defendant filed the fraudulent documents against the victims in retaliation for their roles as prosecutor and sitting judge in a prior criminal case involving the defendant.
In April 2010, Jordan was convicted following a jury trial of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit alien smuggling. He was subsequently sentenced to 63 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Jordan faces a maximum ten years in federal prison for each retaliation charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:15 a.m. on October 9, 2015, in Houston before United States District Judge Gray H. Miller.
The case was investigated by the FBI together with the United States Marshals Service for the Southern District of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wannarka is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.