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Sovereign Citizens Involved in Immigration Fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged four individuals with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and immigration fraud, and the sale of fraudulent immigration documents, for allegedly selling fake Native American Indian documents to illegal immigrants.

On August 29, 2008, the DOJ arrested Audie Watson, 75, Nancy Vertus, 40, Anibal Reyes, 38, and his wife Laura Reyes, 38.

The four defendants allegedly sold undocumented immigrants bogus citizenship into the Little Shell Pembina Band of North America, a fictitious Native American tribe which is actually an anti-government sovereign citizen group that has engaged in a wide variety of frauds and scams over the past half decade.

The bogus citizenship documents were purportedly being sold through a Florida company called Universal Service Dedicated to God. The victims were fraudulently told that the documents they purchased would allow them to legally obtain work in the United States.

If convicted, all four could face maximum penalties of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for conspiracy to commit mail and immigration fraud; up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for mail fraud; and up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the sale of false immigration documents.

In other recent sovereign citizen activity, on September 4, 2008, a judge in San Diego Superior Court sentenced Victor Granados, 57, of San Dimas, California, to probation and 20 days of community service for also selling undocumented immigrants bogus citizenship documents into the Little Shell Pembina Band of North America, fraudulently claiming that the citizenship papers would allow the individuals to legally cross the Mexican border into the United States.

Granados and his co-defendant Kim Thomas Johnson, 47, charged $1,500 for the fraudulent citizenships. Both defendants pleaded guilty to grand theft. Johnson received the same sentence as Granados, with the additional order to pay $9,000 in restitution to four victims.

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