Thursday, April 18, 2013

Couple Who Allegedly Filed $114B In 'Retaliation' Liens Against Public Officials Withdraw Guilty Pleas, Decide To Move Forward In Defending Against Prosecution

In Ramsey County, Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports:

  • An Itasca County couple charged in a $114 billion harassment scheme involving bogus liens now say they want to withdraw their guilty pleas.

    Thomas and Lisa Eilertson, formerly of Brooklyn Park and Minneapolis, pleaded guilty April 4 to 12 felony counts each. They had refused earlier that day to enter guilty or not-guilty pleas.

    On Tuesday, April 9, they filed a 140-page document that included, among other things, copies of the plea agreements with lines through them and, in large handwritten letters, "RESCISSION."

    In the cover letter, the Eilertsons wrote that their pleas were "withdrawn and refused without dishonor, without recourse, as slander of title, rights prejudiced, deceptive trade practices, deceit dishonor defamation by: (Ramsey County Attorney) John J. Choi, with article in PIONEER PRESS and MEDIA slander." Choi was quoted in a Pioneer Press story about the guilty pleas.

    "Defendants wish to move forward and not be used as pawns for John Choi's political slander," the Eilertsons wrote in an affidavit included with the Tuesday filing. They wanted to resolve the matter in "good faith," they wrote, but were thwarted by "the malicious intent to prosecute."

    Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the county attorney's office, said Thursday that the office had no comment.

    In a news release last week, Choi called what the Eilertsons did "financial and economic terrorism."

    Thomas Eilertson, 45, and Lisa Eilertson, 49, represented themselves in court. Sentencing is scheduled before Ramsey County District Judge Lezlie Marek on June 7.

    As part of the guilty pleas, the Eilertsons had agreed to remove all liens filed against public officials, who include Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek. They also agreed not to file bogus liens in the future.

    The deal also stipulated that in exchange, the maximum jail time they would face was 120 days, providing they had no felony convictions on their records. They also would pay restitution for their crimes. The charges were to be reduced to misdemeanors if they followed the terms of their five-year probation, the agreement stated.

    The Eilertsons filed false liens against 12 victims, using the name "Blessings of Liberty," according to criminal complaints filed in Ramsey County District Court.

    The Hennepin County sheriff's office referred the case to St. Paul police for investigation because several of the victims are Hennepin County officials.

    The Eilertsons' activities stemmed from 2009, when their home at 4448 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis went into foreclosure.

    An online contact, identified in the complaints by the initials P.K., gave them instructions on how to file Uniform Commercial Code liens against people in retaliation for their economic problems. They were told that filing under the name "Blessings of Liberty" shielded them from civil and criminal liability.

    P.K. said the liens, which are claims against an asset, would allow the Eilertsons to "do death by a thousand paper cuts."

    The liens were filed in 2009 and 2010 with the secretary of state's office in St. Paul and totaled $114 billion.

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