SPECIAL REPORT: Convicted ‘3 Hebrew Boys’ Ponzi Figure Declares He Is ‘Sovereign’; Joseph Brunson Says Prosecutors Have No Authority Over Him
Defining himself as “One,” a South Carolina man convicted Friday of operating an $82 million Ponzi scheme with two colleagues has filed a series of pleadings declaring himself “sovereign” and accusing a federal prosecutor of committing treason against the United States.
The convicted schemer, Joseph B. Brunson of Hopkins, appears to trying to bolster his claim he is sovereign by constructing an argument that he is immune from prosecution because the United States is insolvent and has no jurisdiction over him. The pleadings were filed on the same day a jury found him guilty of mail fraud, money-laundering and transporting stolen goods and issued a special verdict for forfeiture of $82 million — the proceeds of the Ponzi scheme.
Brunson is one of the so-called “3 Hebrew Boys” who operated a website with the same name. The name is taken from a biblical tale of believers who escaped a furnace by relying on their faith.
Upon the jury verdicts, prosecutors moved to revoke the bond of Brunson and co-defendants Tim McQueen and Tony Pough, asking a federal judge to jail them immediately, pending sentencing.
Judge Margaret B. Seymour granted the request, pointing to a Brunson pleading that accused U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins of treason.
Web references connect Brunson to The Little Shell Pembina Band of North America, a reputed splinter group of a legitimate tribe of Native Americans in Montana. WIS News 10, the news arm of a TV station in South Carolina, reported in 2007 that Brunson was stopped by police for driving with illegal tribal license plates while out on bond after being charged by state authorities in the “3 Hewbrew Boys” case.
The splinter group is listed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as an “active anti-government extremist group.”
“Members of the group claim that they belong to a ‘sovereign’ Native American tribe and therefore are not subject to laws and regulations,” ADL reports.
Activities of the splinter group range from “driving with bogus license plates to perpetrating insurance fraud schemes [and] tax evasion,” ADL reports.
ADL notes that the Little Shell Band of Montana is a legitimate tribe, but is not recognized by the federal government. It has no connection to extremism or to the Little Shell Pembina Band of North America, according to ADL.
Bizarre Filings In Securities Cases
Brunson’s filings in the South Carolina case are similar to pro se pleadings in the alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme case in the District of Columbia. Filings in both cases have included wild arguments, using words directed at prosecutors or judges such as “treason” and “conspiracy” in bids to short-circuit the government’s efforts to prosecute Ponzi and securities cases.
Curtis Richmond, a mainstay pro se litigant in the ASD case, has been associated in court filings with a version of the Pembina tribal name and the name of a separate Utah tribe a federal judge ruled a “complete sham.” The purported Utah tribe filed enormous financial judgments against prosecutors and members of law-enforcement, and was successfully sued under federal racketeering and mail-fraud statutes.
Richmond was among a group of litigants ordered to pay more than $108,000 in damages and costs for their roles in harassing members of the Utah law-enforcement community with vexatious legal filings. In a separate case, Richmond was found guilty in California of contempt of court for harassing federal judges.
Despite the RICO ruling that went against him and his contempt conviction, members of the AdSurfDaily autosurf and a closely associated surf known as AdViewGlobal hailed Richmond a “hero.”
ASD is implicated in an alleged $100 million Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors are attempting to force the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in the case, which includes two other autosurfs: Golden Panda Ad Builder and LaFuenteDinero. “LaFuenteDinero” means the “fountain of money,” and the surf was the purported Spanish arm of ASD. Golden Panda was the purported Chinese arm.
For more than a year — at least since May 2008 — various operators or participants in alleged Ponzi schemes have claimed to be immune from U.S. law because they were “sovereign” beings or members of a “sovereign” Indian tribe.
The arguments have been both bizarre and implausible. Gold Quest International (GQI), an alleged multimillion Ponzi scheme operating out of Las Vegas, claimed Panamanian registration and immunity from U.S. law because it was associated with a North Dakota Indian tribe.
Despite the claim GQI was immune from the law because of its purported tie to the Pembina tribe, one of the alleged operators the Ponzi scheme, John Jenkins, left a Nevada courtroom to go outside to plug a parking meter to avoid getting a ticket.
GQI attempted unsuccessfully to sue the SEC for the spectacular sum of $1.7 trillion for bringing the prosecution. The company reportedly relied on the services of a nonattorney as its “attorney general” and a nonnotary as its notary public to certify documents.
â€œYou are in an imaginary world where you belong to an unrecognized Indian group,â€ a federal judge advised Robert Neilson Baker, the nonnotary notary.
In the “3 Hewbrew Boys” case, Brunson filed documents that appear to have been designed to force Wilkens, the U.S. Attorney, to default on a contact to which he never had agreed. The approach sometimes is referred to as “paper terrorism” or “mailbox arbitation.”
A similar approach was used by litigants in the ASD case.
Brunson wrote in a court filing he described as a “Bill of Peace” last week that Wilkens had a duty to appear before a notary public and acknowledge Brunson’s assertion of sovereignty in “red ink.” The document demanded that Wilkens use his “Christian name” in his response to Brunson.
A refusal by Wilkens’ to carry out the demands within three days, Brunson said, would result in a contractual agreement that Wilkens was “an enemy of One and the [U]nited States of America and the people, Constitution, and Government thereof.”
Read Joseph Brunson’s purported “writ” in the “3 Hebrew Boys” case.
Read Joseph Brunson’s claim U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkens is committing treason against the United States.
Read the jury’s special verdict ordering the forfeiture of $82 million in the “3 Hebrew Boys” case.
Read a statement by acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman on Audie Watson, a Florida man found guilty of selling bogus memberships in a “Pembina” tribe for $1,500 to illegal aliens.