Marshall E. Home, a self-styled ‘sovereign citizen’ in Arizona and former Tucson mayoral candidate, has been arrested on two federal charges of making false claims related to a “business” he ran that purported to save homes from foreclosure.
The complaint alleges that Home also tried to place the U.S. in bankruptcy in March, and falsely claimed he had a claim of $3 billion against the federal government.
Home, 81, was arrested Friday in Tucson after a criminal complaint charged him with two counts of false claims in bankruptcy. The complaint identifies him as a sovereign citizen — someone who doesn’t believe in the legitimacy of the U.S. government.
According to the complaint, Home and another individual operate “Individual Rights Party; Mortgage Rescue Service,” which claims it can help people stop foreclosure on their homes for a $500 fee as part of his “larger overall bankruptcy liquidation.” Home also calls himself the Chairman of the similarly-themed “Independent Rights Party - Foreclosure Recovery Services.” That site promises: “Conceivably you could stay in your home, being only a few monthly service fees out of pocket, then in the future receive a tremendous check for damages pertaining to the fraud perpetrated by the bankers.”
In a press release, prosecutors allege that Home filed a suit trying to place the U.S. government into involuntary bankruptcy and filed $3 billion in false claims against the government. From the release:
Home filed or caused to be filed 173 false claims against the United States in the Bankruptcy Court relating to individuals participating in the “Mortgage Rescue Service.” Many of these false bankruptcy claims involve loans guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The criminal complaint alleges that these claims totaled over $2.5 trillion dollars. The specific charges in the two counts of the criminal complaint involve claims of $2.5 billion and $50 million.
“The anti-government paranoia of so-called ‘sovereign citizens’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they use their false claims and fraudulent practices to rip-off others,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in the release. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue and prosecute those who make false claims against the government to cover for their wrongdoing.”
If convicted, Home faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
This is not Home’s first brush with the courts. He had been campaigning for mayor of Tucson — first as an independent, then as a Democrat — but dropped out in June after a court case challenging his residency. In that particular case he argued: “I reside within my body. That is my definition of residency.”
Home subsequently filed a lawsuit against his Dem opponent Jonathan Rothschild arguing that because Rothschild is an attorney he is part of the judicial branch, and therefore cannot serve as a legislator. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled against him and ordered him to pay legal costs for Rothschild and the Pima County Democratic Party.
Home was also recently thrown out of the bankruptcy hearings for the Chicago-based Giordano’s pizza chain, after he made vague threats and generally disrupted the proceedings. Home had filed a $150 million lien against Giordiano’s, which the pizza chain’s trustee said is fraudulent.
The criminal complaint against Home cites the example of “J.A.,” who “owned and operated a business in Chicago” as one of Home’s allegedly false claims. This is likely John Apostolou, who owned Giordano’s, and had sought help from Home in the chain’s bankruptcy case. Apostolou and his wife were among the signatories of the bankruptcy claim against the U.S. and the state of Arizona. Apostolou claimed he and his wife didn’t understand what they were signing, and “he had signed documents for Home but had never borrowed or lent him any money.”