Saturday, May 14, 2011


Nasty doings in upstate New York:

ALBANY -- An anti-government group member apologized Friday for using bogus legal papers to intimidate and attack government officials in Ulster County.

Ed Parenteau was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for filing false property liens against police officers, an assistant county prosecutor and a town justice. The 53-year-old Chenango County resident said he regretted the scheme and promised to help federal authorities investigate other so-called "paper terrorists."

... Parenteau was an operative of the nationwide Sovereign Citizen movement. Its members believe that governments -- federal, state and local -- are fictional corporations that have no authority to enforce laws.

Parenteau started fighting government officials in March 2009 when Town of Lloyd police arrested him and co-conspirator Jeffrey Burfeindt of Highland for trespassing at a foreclosed house.

The men bombarded Lloyd officials with fake bills for infringing on their perceived sovereign rights. The pair used those bills to file actual property liens that affected the credit ratings of their targets. Parenteau alone filed 10 liens totaling roughly $62 billion each. He told the judge Friday that he recently withdrew the liens. McAvoy also ordered Parenteau to pay $8,079 to Ulster County for time its workers lost sorting through his phony papers. He and Burfeindt pleaded guilty in January to mail fraud, a felony. Burfeindt's sentencing was pushed back to July.

Parenteau said he learned to write fake legal papers at a seminar taught by Tim Turner, a popular sovereign-citizen guru based near Austin, Texas....

Want to get a taste of Tim Turner's thinking? Search for his name and one of the first Google results is -- naturally -- a page at the Daily Paul, the fan site for that nice old constitutionalist, Ron Paul.

Yeah, I know: there's a limit to how far in from the fringe this sort of lunacy can come as long as corporatists still run the GOP. Nevertheless, if the recession is permanent (as I fear) and Obama wins reelection (which I suppose is a fairly good bet), I expect to see a lot more of this -- and crazy state and local officials, especially in the deep-red states, deciding it isn't actually all that illegal.

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