A federal jury convicted an Ozark man on Friday of multiple felony charges related to a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and tax evasion.
James Timothy Turner, 57, was found guilty after a five-day trial that took place in U.S. Judge Myron Thompson’s courtroom in Montgomery this week.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice press release, Turner was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., attempting to pay taxes with fictitious financial instruments, attempting to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service, failing to file a 2009 federal income tax return and falsely testifying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The FBI began investigating Turner in 2010 after he and three other people sent packages to all 50 governors demanding they leave office.
Turner is the president of a group of what prosecutors called “sovereign citizens” known as the “Republic for the united States of America.”
Turner toured the country in 2008 and 2009 teaching seminars that instructed attendees how to submit bonds to pay off tax debt.
According to prosecutors, these bonds were completely fictitious and often written for amounts in excess of $1 billion.
“Witnesses at trial testified that Turner used special paper, financial terminology, and elaborate borders in an effort to make the fake bonds look ‘real’ and … more likely to succeed in defrauding the IRS,” according to the Department of Justice press release.
The jury found Turner guilty of submitting a $300 million fake bond in his own name and helping send at least 15 others to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Turner also filed a $17.6 billion maritime lien against an individual in Montgomery County Probate Court as part of a retaliatory practice he taught at his seminars.
The press release states that Turner remains in federal custody pending sentencing.
He faces a maximum of 164 years in prison, a maximum fine of $2.35 million and mandatory restitution.