Federal prosecutors in North Carolina are attempting to obtain ownership of a stash of privately minted “Liberty Dollars” created by a man convicted last month on conspiracy and counterfeiting charges, according to the The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review.
In March, Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was found guilty in North Carolina federal court of a scheme that prosecutors said undermined the value of the U.S. dollar. On Monday, prosecutors moved ahead with forfeiture action targeting $7 million in “Liberty Dollars” and silver bullion seized at a private mint in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Von NotHaus began printing his own currency and minting his own coins in 1998, after he founded the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code. From the Spokesman-Review:
His Liberty coins, manufactured at the mint in Coeur d’Alene, were marked with a “$,” the word “dollar,” USA and “Trust in God” instead of “In God We Trust,” which is found on U.S. coinage.
The private coin and currency operation would be to the Federal Reserve what FedEx became to the U.S. Postal Service, von NotHaus boasted a decade ago.
The coins apparently became popular with anti-government “sovereign citizens.” Aaron Michel, von NotHaus’ attorney, says the assets belong to his client and about 250,000 people “who left their Liberty coins at Sunshine Minting for safekeeping.”
According to the Spokesman-Review, authorities seized 7 tons of Liberty Dollar coins at the Idaho mint, including “2 tons of freshly minted ‘Ron Paul’ dollars,” coinage stamped with the Texas representative’s face.
Michel has said that von NotHaus — who faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines — will appeal the case. He is currently out on bond.
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com