A sovereign citizen in upstate New York apologized for harassing government officials with “paper terrorism,” which resulted in a sentence of 21 months in federal prison for mail fraud.
Ed Parenteau was sentenced last week and ordered to pay about $8,000 to Ulster County, after he, along with two other sovereign citizens, was convicted of mail fraud after filing fake indictments and sending fake bills, totaling $1.24 trillion, to government officials. “I have learned my lesson and I will never do anything like this again,” he told District Judge Thomas McAvoy Friday.
Parenteau, Jeffrey Burfeindt, and Richard Ulloa were indicted in July of last year for a scheme to allegedly extort money from Ulster County, New York, and several public employees, including police officers, an assistant county prosecutor, and a town justice.
Executives of a local bank were also targeted.
The three identify themselves as sovereign citizens, a loosely organized group that believes almost all forms of government are illegitimate, and refuses to follow laws. Some sovereign citizens have responded with violence when confronted by law enforcement, but oftentimes members use so-called “paper terrorism” instead. This usually involves filing liens against the personal assets of law enforcement officials or judges who sovereign citizens come into contact with, which effectively ruins their credit.
In this case, Adam Bosch of the Times Herald-Record reports that the plot evolved after the banks foreclosed on the sovereign citizens’ homes and they received traffic violations:
Documents uncovered by the Times Herald-Record show that anti-government operatives established a kangaroo court in the Town of Lloyd only weeks before they were found guilty of federal mail fraud. The wacky court - complete with “judge” and “jury” - targeted government officials and businessmen by issuing fake indictments against them.
The indictments demanded roughly $4 billion in “fees” and warned that “rangers,” make-believe police, would confiscate property from the officials if the fees were not paid.
They then used those bills to file the liens against the officials’ homes.
Parenteau claims he learned how to falsify legal documents at a seminar taught by sovereign citizen guru Tim Turner, who charges people for courses about the movement. “I’ll tell people not to get involved with this guy because he’s trouble,” Parenteau said in his apology, the Albany Times-Union reports.
Ulloa’s bail was revoked last week and he turned himself into authorities. Burfeindt will be sentenced in July.