Sovereign Citizens With a Penchant for Filing Liens


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

I have to admit that I knew very little about the sovereign citizen movement before I read a New York times article a couple of days ago that opened my eyes to the movement and how some in that movement have attacked government officials and civil service workers.  To fully understand how members of the sovereign citizens movement think, one must know a little about their beliefs.

“Sovereign citizens believe that in the 1800s, the federal government was gradually subverted and replaced by an illegitimate government. They create their own driver’s licenses and include their thumbprints on documents to distinguish their flesh and blood person from a “straw man” persona that they say has been created by the false government. When writing their names, they often add punctuation marks like colons or hyphens.” New York Times

In response to some legitimate concerns over mortgage foreclosure abuses and in response to some imagined governmental abuses, some sovereign citizens members have taken to filing liens against many government officials and these liens negatively impact the personal credit records of these officials and government workers.

One couple in Minnesota have filed over $250 Billion in liens in just a few years.  “But as Sheriff Stanek soon learned, the liens, legal claims on property to secure the payment of a debt, were just the earliest salvos in a war of paper, waged by a couple who had lost their home to foreclosure in 2009 — a tactic that, with the spread of an anti-government ideology known as the “sovereign citizen” movement, is being employed more frequently as a way to retaliate against perceived injustices.

Over the next three years, the couple, Thomas and Lisa Eilertson, filed more than $250 billion in liens, demands for compensatory damages and other claims against more than a dozen people, including the sheriff, county attorneys, the Hennepin County registrar of titles and other court officials.” New York Times

How can one couple file $250 billion in liens?  It may surprise you that in most states any party can file a lien.  When a claim for a lien is filed and litigated, the facts and evidence will decide whether the lien is valid.  However, how does one go about dealing with liens on your home in the billions?  The time and effort to litigate and clean the title can cost the victims thousands in attorney fees and delay sales and refinances of real estate, not to mention the damage done to victim’s credit ratings.

The FBI has now gotten involved into the false lien filing business and considers the massive filings as a type of “paper terrorism”.  This is one of the few times lately that I agree with the FBI. I find it hard to imagine receiving a title commitment for a sale of my home and reading that someone has filed millions of dollars of liens against the property.  How would you react when you discover millions of dollars in unfounded liens have been placed against the title of your home?

This paper war seems to be increasing across the entire nation.  “In Gadsden, Ala., three people were arrested in July for filing liens against victims including the local district attorney and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. And in Illinois this month, a woman who, like most sovereign citizens, chose to represent herself in court, confounded a federal judge by asking him to rule on a flurry of unintelligible motions.

“I hesitate to rank your statements in order of just how bizarre they are,” the judge told the woman, who was facing charges of filing billions of dollars in false liens.

“The convergence of the evidence strongly suggests a movement that is flourishing,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League. “It is present in every single state in the country.” New York Times

The Illinois case noted above is an especially enlightening case that involved some very high-profile victims of a similar lien filing attack.  “Phillips faces charges that she targeted Fitzgerald, then-Chief Judge James Holderman and other federal judges, prosecutors and court officials by filing bogus liens on their homes in 2011 that sought tens of billions of dollars.

Prosecutors allege Phillips was retaliating after she was physically barred from the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse and forbidden from filing documents on behalf of her brother, Devon, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to drug conspiracy charges.

Her trial features a star-studded cast of witnesses — in legal circles, anyway — with Fitzgerald, Holderman and U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow potentially taking the stand. It was the murder of Lefkow’s husband and mother in 2005 by a crazed litigant that led to a greater sensitivity for the security of federal officials in Chicago.

Phillips, 43, who also goes by the name of River Tali El Bey, has professed in court that she doesn’t recognize the federal system. Her court filings reflect the ideology of sovereign citizens, a rapidly expanding anti-government movement whose adherents often file nonsensical, complex legal documents and refuse to accept or follow court rules.” Chicago Tribune

The Fitzgerald referred to in the Tribune quote was Patrick Fitzgerald, the former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The sovereign citizen movement has been around since at least the 1990’s, but these paper attacks are a more recent tactic that has succeeded in clogging court dockets and harming the personal credit of many people.  As the states start writing laws to toughen the penalties for filing false lien claims, the sovereign citizens are continuing to make life miserable for many, good intentioned government officials.

Do you agree with the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center that these tactics constitute paper terrorism?  I think if you ask the victims, they might agree that they have been terrorized.  What can be done to stop these attacks?  Will education of the public about this alleged movement aid in preventing these kind of abusive filings?

In my opinion, I think states should be careful when they are rewriting laws to toughen the penalties for false filings, because if they do not enforce these same laws against the robo signing tactics of some banksters; these types of attacks may continue no matter how the States change or amend their criminal statutes.  What do you think?  I think I may have to do a title search of my home after this article!

55 thoughts on “Sovereign Citizens With a Penchant for Filing Liens”

  1. 1) Sovereign Citizens ARE terrorists. Economic terrorists. They terrorize the lives and finances of the people they target, period.

    2) Sovereign Citizens ARE criminals, with HUGE balls. The gall they have to file bogus leins on federal attorneys blows my mind. They are delusional criminals and should be treated as such.

    3) Soveriegn Citizens are CRAZY, For example A, read Mr. Freeman’s response above. If they truly aren’t citizens, then they should be confined to their homes, or prison (where most of them hail from, anyway) because like it or not, taxes pay for roads, firemen, police, etc. So fine. You don’t want to pay taxes? Sorry- no roads for you. Your house is burning down? No firemen coming to rescue you. The government OWES you something? No it doesn’t.

    They need to be stopped, they need to be thrown in prison where they belong. I’ll gladly support the use of my tax dollars for jailing them.

  2. Okay, let us he TRULY forthcoming here. Sovereigns who TRULY adhere to the common law ( both America and Canada are recognized common law jurisdictions.) NEVER file a frivolous lien or suit. That would be fraud.
    But when a public servant who is indemnified against liability by a corrupt government refuses to produce ID on lawful demand, under color of law, assaults/ abuses/abducts/falsely imprisons a human being, WE ARE FORCED TO TAKE SUCH ACTIONS. This is because these “legalized” terrocrats (terroristic beurocrats) seemingly infringe upon our rights with increasing frequency, intensity and impunity.

    WHEN THE SYSTEM ACTUALLY TRIES TO RULE SO ABSOLUTELY THAT OUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS DO AS THEY PLEASE WITH NO REGARD FOR EFFECT OR CONSEQUENCE, IT IS CALLED A DICTATORSHIP!!!!!! The answer is simple: do not engage me in statute without my consent, or attempt to detain or arrest me UNLESS I HAVE COMMITTED A COMMON LAW CRIMINAL OFFENCE, and I would simply have no reason to file a lien in the first place.

  3. The Govt. itself practices t er r o r i sm, overseas and at home, not folks that just want to be left alone and live in peace and freedom, free from Pretender Lenders trying to steal their homes in kangaroo courts.

    That you cant see this makes YOU part of the problem.

  4. Rafflaw/OS/Gene are neither foolish nor ignorant men yet if they & other sharp men of position would have been able to take care of these many problems we all face you’all would likely never have heard a word from the likes of me.

    US Senator Tom Coburn, most likely don’t understand who that leader really is?

    He represents Oklahoma & the rest of US citizens interest & many of us realize he represents hidden powerful interests he’s not free to disclose, so we just take it as a given.

    At a recent town hall event here in Oklahoma he gave us all a candied view into the utter ciaos ongoing in DC among our polecats & power brokers.

    His audience’s audio is poor but you can hear his comments just fine in the link below.

    I hope someone here will being my comments & the senator’s comments to JT attention!!

    Flow chart: Declaration Independence, Articles of Confederation, replaced by USA Constitution & it’s “Bill of Rights”.

    As part of the Grand Bargain the “Bill of Rights” served multiple purposes.

    A key purposes was to show the govt & the people how to correct deficiencies within the US Constitution when it was thought to be deficient.

    Had it’s Intent been followed I don’t believe we’d be experiencing any of the problems we current are, but that wasn’t the case.

    I’ve long suspected & feared corrupt powers would push for a Constitutional Convention so they could gut the Constitution of the People’s Authority over the govt.

    I noticed in Sen Coburn’s comments he & others are pushing for a Constitutional Convention supposedly to correct deficiency.

    I ask you, JT & others: Why would we need a Constitutional Convention when there is already a remedy by the why of Constitutional Amendments?

    (BTW: I support plenty of the things Sen. Coburn claims to support. )

  5. ** Certainly. However, I don’t believe that most morgages are procured by such practices. For most borrowers, things such as the MERS mess really has no impact in connection with the borrowers secured obligation to repay funds he borrowed. Maybe our practice of incurring debt to purchase homes should be reviewed. But screwing with the finances of the poorly paid Deputy County Recorder who accepted the relevant documents for recording, as he is required to do, does not look like justice to me. **

    Edited for WP:


    There is no need to review the laws regarding most laws regarding lending, all that is required is for banks/insurance co’s, gov’t & courts to obey the law.

    Wallst’s Over the Counter Derivatives, OTC, is where there Fraud has been occurring & it is ongoing today.

    An estimated 60% of all residential loans, MERS related, were born directly by Fraud, a known fact.

    IE: William K Black & hundreds of others.

    Wallst’s Fraud is deep into commercial lending & every other asset case.

    Every other loan & asset class has been adversely affect & harm.

    Wallst Bank/Insurance Co’s, illegally allowed by DC govt & many state courts, is an ongoing fraud & a National Seeeecurity Th—-reat to us all.

    Their Frauds have been known to the gen public for 7 years & continues unabated.

    “When people lose everything they lose it!”

    I don’t know this group called sovereign citizens, it sounds like just the type scams SPLC & the ADL would be behind the scenes promoting again.

    I don’t encourage anyone to be doing anything illegal, but I recall everything Hitler & the Nazi did was declared legal by the then German govt.

    What do you people expect desperate people to do when denied recourse of grievousness by the govt & courts?

    It’s a w-ar by the banks/insurance & corrupt elements inside our govt against the people & our old govt. Wakeup or be run down by it.

  6. Lottakatz: People have mortgages because they borrowed money and agreed to pay it back. Are there predatory practices that need to be dealt with? Certainly. However, I don’t believe that most morgages are procured by such practices. For most borrowers, things such as the MERS mess really has no impact in connection with the borrowers secured obligation to repay funds he borrowed. Maybe our practice of incurring debt to purchase homes should be reviewed. But screwing with the finances of the poorly paid Deputy County Recorder who accepted the relevant documents for recording, as he is required to do, does not look like justice to me.

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