More On Sovereign Citizens & The Use Of 'Paper Terrorism' To Take Over Possession Of Homes, Cloud Land Titles
In Montgomery County, Maryland, the PotomacPatch reports:
- The Jan. 5 takeover of an unoccupied Bethesda mansion may sound pretty far-fetched and even a bit wacky, but it's serious stuff, the head of the Montgomery County Police Department's Vice and Intelligence Unit said Wednesday in an interview with Patch.
MCPD released photos Tuesday of a suspect in the case, which has been deemed a burglary of the home in the 7000 block of Natelli Woods Lane. Another man, who is charged in the burglary, told police that he claimed the vacant mansion as a member of the Moorish Nation.
"It's a very conspiratorial, very organized crime," MCPD Sgt. Kenneth Penrod said.
The so-called Moorish Nation is composed of self-defined Moorish nationals who believe the U.S. government is not legitimate. Moorish nationals believe they are descended from the Moors, who once inhabited the land now governed by the United States, they say. Because the U.S. took the land from the Moors illegally, they argue, they have the right to take over property—like the burgled Bethesda mansion.
The Moorish Nation is one of several groups that adhere to a sovereign citizen ideology—"a conspiratorial belief system that argues that most Americans are not subject to most tax and criminal laws promulgated by the government," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Members of sovereign citizen groups often use "paper terrorism," filing bogus tax documents claiming ownership of a property and filing liens against the government trying to uphold the law, Penrod said. So far, this has happened mostly in southern states—including Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina—although New York City has seen it too, he said. This creates a lot of paperwork in the courts, because once a lien is filed, it's hard to get it removed, Penrod said.