ASD-LIKE LITIGATION PLAYBOOK BACKFIRES: Washington State Man Indicted For Placing Fraudulent Liens Against Prosecutors, IRS Agent; Ronald James Davenport Faces Decades In Prison If Convicted

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a post in which the introduction is longer than the actual story (below). The story demonstrates the dangers of jumping on bandwagons before giving them careful thought.

Longtime readers of the PP Blog will recall our coverage of Curtis Richmond, “Professor” Patrick Moriarty and ASD Members International (ASDMI). Each was a mainstay in the AdSurfDaily autosurf Ponzi scheme case.

Richmond, a member of a sham Utah “Indian” tribe, was sued successfully in 2008 under federal racketeering statutes for being part of a group that placed enormous financial judgments against Utah public officials in performance of their duties. The judgments were bogus. Richmond and other members of the sham tribe were ordered to pay damages and penalties totaling more than $108,000.

Richmond has described himself in court filings as a “sovereign” being answerable only to Jesus Christ.

Moriarty, now in federal prison in Missouri after pleading guilty in January to filing a false tax return, advocated Richmond’s legal theories in the ASD case. Among other things, Moriarty, who claimed to be skilled in the art of “karma restoration” and once sold fake academic degrees on eBay by explaining they were gag gifts, was part of a group — ASDMI — whose membership roster consisted of members of the now-defunct Surf’s Up forum.

ASDMI came out of the gate by announcing a scorched-earth legal campaign against the government for its seizure of tens of millions of dollars in the ASD case. At least two federal prosecutors and at least one Secret Service agent became targets of a hectoring campaign that involved the use of certified mail. Surf’s Up championed the campaign, which was designed to demand a litigation result from the government by trapping the recipients of the certified mail into a contract to which they never agreed. The approach, which also was used by the sham Utah tribe in litigation separate from the ASD case, sometimes is known as “paper terrorism” or “mailbox arbitration.”

Surf’s Up also championed a secondary campaign to write letters to Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Surf’s Up described the ASD case as a legal “travesty that was committed against the 100,000-plus members of ASD by US attorneys Jeffrey Taylor and William Cowden.”

Richmond, fresh from his RICO rebuke in “Indian”-related litigation in Utah, then became a mainstay in the ASD case. He filed a series of pro-se pleadings accusing U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer and the prosecutors of crimes and threatening prosecution and lawsuits under federal racketeering statutes.

Some ASD members cheered the filings. Richmond was dubbed a “hero” on Surf’s Up, and also on a forum some of the Surf’s Up Mods established to promote the AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which had close ASD ties. One of Richmond’s motions claimed that actions by Collyer, a court clerk and two prosecutors prevented an ASD member named Alana Holsted from “Collecting on an Entry of Default Affidavit for $30 million for each Defendant.” In the Utah “Indian” case, Richmond tried to force the federal judge presiding over the litigation to step down by claiming the judge owed him $30 million.

It is believed that bogus payment claims against Collyer, the prosecutors and the court clerk by some pro-se litigants in the ASD case totaled at least $120 million. It is unclear if overt steps were taken to formalize the purported judgments by filing liens against the judge, the clerk and the prosecutors.

Previously Richmond had been linked to a scheme to imprison federal judges and litigation opponents and had been declared in contempt of court in California for threatening and trying to intimidate judges.

Although the story about Ronald James Davenport is not related to the ASD case, it demonstrates the risk of some of the approaches advocated by Richmond, Moriarty and ASDMI — and it shows the utter madness of the advocacy of the Surf’s Up forum. It was the type of advocacy that can land followers in prison for decades.

Here, now, a brief on Ronald James Davenport . . .

A Washington state man faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on charges of filing fraudulent liens against a U.S. Attorney and other government officials, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Bogus liens filed by Ronald James Davenport of Deer Park sought the spectacular sum of nearly $5.2 billion from each of the officials, including U.S. Attorney James McDevitt of the Eastern District of Washington, an assistant U.S. attorney, a court clerk and an IRS agent, according to court records.

Prosecutors described Davenport as a “tax defier.” Davenport has described himself in court filings as a “sovereign.”

In a civil case that preceded the criminal indictment against Davenport, Senior U.S. District Judge Justin L. Quackenbush ruled last month that the liens “were filed to retaliate against the officers for their good-faith efforts to enforce the tax laws against Mr. Davenport.”

Quackenbush struck the liens, which were filed in the form of UCC Financing Statements with the Washington State Department of Licensing, according to records. The liens not only were fraudulent, but also contained “sensitive personal information” that violated privacy laws, the judge ruled.

Davenport also filed instruments dubbed “Notice[s] of Claim of Maritime Lien” with the Spokane County Auditor’s Office, according to records. Those, too, were struck.

The government sued Davenport civilly in 2008 “to collect delinquent income taxes,” prosecutors said.

Records show that Davenport responded by filing liens against the officials.

“The indictment alleges that in retaliation for attempting to collect the delinquent taxes, Davenport made a series of fraudulent claims in December 2009,” prosecutors said.

“Davenport filed liens against the property of these government officials, falsely claiming that each of them owed Davenport $5,184,000,000,” the Justice Department said.

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5 Responses to “ASD-LIKE LITIGATION PLAYBOOK BACKFIRES: Washington State Man Indicted For Placing Fraudulent Liens Against Prosecutors, IRS Agent; Ronald James Davenport Faces Decades In Prison If Convicted”

  1. These seem to be the “golden days” of the sovereign citizen movement. This spring the “Restore America Plan” employed “patriot” mythology in an effort to peacefully force the “de Facto”US government to step down and turn control of the 50 republics to the “Guardian Elders” and some hastily assembled “grand juries.” As best I can tell it was only a publicity stunt to sell more expensive seminars for Sam Kennedy and “Tim” Turner.

    The blogs and forums that took it seriously reminded me much of the good old “Surf’s Up” forum. I felt much the same mental vertigo when reading them but it was hard to look away. Tim Turner was telling the most outlandish lies and every prediction he made failed to come true but his followers would bend fold and spindle any current event till they thought it looked like proof that the “plan is working.” One of the key foundational lies was that the US military was in complete (or at least 90%) support of the plan, but they couldn’t say so publicly. I haven’t been over to any of the R.A.P. blogs today but I’m sure they have created their own myth for how Gen. McChrystal’s resignation is “proof” that the plan is working.

    And all the while people are shelling out $500, $1,200 or more a pop to attend seminars which promise to teach them how they don’t need to pay taxes, follow most other laws and how to file “Maritime Liens” in the amount of many billion dollars against the Judges will invariably rule against you if you ever try to use those teaching in their courts. It astounds me that people fall for that stuff, but you can turn a fast buck off the people who do.

  2. GlimDropper: The blogs and forums that took it seriously reminded me much of the good old “Surf’s Up” forum. I felt much the same mental vertigo when reading them but it was hard to look away.

    Hi Glim,

    You’ll recall, of course, that Surf’s Up revved up the crowd prior to the birth of ASDMI by saying something dramatic — a game-changer — was about to happen.

    The purported game-changer proved to be ASDMI, which registered itself as a purported nonprofit in Missouri in October 2008. At least 167 people sent money to help the ASDMI cause. One of its promises was to advocate on behalf of ASD members and litigate against the government even if the government was behaving legally.

    Records suggest that Professor Moriarty, one of the ASDMI co-founders, already was under investigation by the IRS when ASDMI launched. Records show he previously started a nonprofit in the name of a man accused of murdering a woman in cold blood and shooting a police officer and another man. The shooter now is serving life in prison, without the opportunity for parole.

    ASDMI didn’t have much shelf life. In fact, it started the process of unwinding itself within two months — but still appears to have been soliciting/collecting money via wire even as it was getting out of the purported nonprofit biz.

    It more or less looks as if ASDMI just declared itself a nonprofit by filing a simple form with the state, but did nothing structurally to become a nonprofit recognized by the IRS and other authorities.

    It is unclear if any of the ASDMI board members registered themselves as lobbyists and advised any jurisdiction that they were using pooled capital sent in by members via wire to advocate on behalf of ASD and its members.


  3. Quick note: Wanted to add that some of the ASD cheerleaders announced a million-person “March on Washington” in August 2008.

    This they planned to do while Congress was not in session and all the reporters who cover Capitol Hill were on vacation in the late summer.

    So, Congress would have been out of town when the march occurred — and no one would cover the march because the reporters all were out of town, too.

    As a quick side note, not only did no one bother to check the schedule of Congress, no one bothered to consider the logistics of such a purported “March.” In fact, no one consulted with the DC police, a requirement of sponsoring any march — especially a purported “Million”-person march.

    The march never came off.

    However, some people did sign a “petition” to have Congress investigate the prosecutors. Others sent in letters that advocated on behalf of Ponzi schemes. Still others insisted that all commerce is legal as long as there was a contract, a position that would have legalized Ponzi schemes, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking — even slavery.

    The core position was that the U.S. government was guilty of “interference with commerce” and the even illegal commerce was protected by the Constitution as long as the parties had a contract.

    Looking at it another way, if you wanted to commit any crime or operate a Ponzi scheme — and if you had co-conspirators willing to help you commit the crime or push your Ponzi scheme for commissions — all you’d have to do to make it “legal” was draw up a contract and get the co-conspirators to agree to it.

    When the sheriff and posse arrived to break up crime or the Ponzi scheme, you’d point to the “contract” — and then you’d threaten to sue or jail the sheriff and posse for “interference with commerce” while insisting that the “contract” made the commerce “legal” because all parties agreed to it.

    Surf’s Up and ASDMI became infamous for magical thinking, which is to say all thoughts were self-validating. If you thought it, it was a reality.

    Perhaps the best example of this was the report that the prosecution had secretly acknowledged ASD was not a Ponzi scheme. This magical thought continued to circulate for more than a year — even after the prosecution filed a second forfeiture complaint that alleged a Ponzi scheme.

    Other magical thoughts included claims the prosecution had no “evidence” and no “witnesses.” These absurd thoughts were discredited even before they were formed and put into words.

    Indeed, the Secret Service filed evidence exhibits with the original complaint in August 2008. In late September and early October of 2008 — at the ASD evidentiary hearing — witnesses were cross-examined on the evidence, including ASD’s Terms of Service. The judge made an announcement in open court that she had studied the evidence.

    In November 2008, the judge ruled that neither the evidence not the testimony demonstrated that ASD was operating lawfully and was not a Ponzi scheme.

    Months later, a series of pro se litigants insisted the government had no evidence, even though evidence was tested in open court.


  4. […] earlier story that references the Davenport action. (The story also provides some background on court filings and […]

  5. […] Andrew Isaac Chance in Maryland. Meanwhile, see a June 2010 story about a false-liens case against Ronald James Davenport in Washington […]