New Georgia Law Targets Antigovernment Sovereign Citizens
Aiming squarely at the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, Georgia’s governor on Monday signed a law that will make it a felony to file fraudulent liens against public officials or employees, a tactic known as “paper terrorism.”
Sovereign citizens, extremists who believe they don’t have to obey most laws or pay taxes and have been known to react murderously to perceived incursions on their freedom, have wreaked havoc in Georgia over the past several years.
In one of the first cases of its kind, 12 sovereigns in North Georgia were charged last March with stealing properties worth millions of dollars, including mansions and a strip mall in Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead neighborhood. They are being prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a federal law originally drafted to fight organized crime but now sometimes applied to other forms of criminal enterprise.
The suspects allegedly fabricated quitclaim deeds transferring ownership of the properties to themselves and filed the phony paperwork with the courts. When government officials tried to have the documents removed, the sovereigns filed baseless property liens and lawsuits against them.