Liberty Dollar raid warrant originated in Asheville

UPDATED:*** 5:38 p.m. Friday*** The seizure warrant for an Nov. 14 FBI raid on a company that produces Liberty Dollars originated in Asheville. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is not commenting on the specific connection to Asheville or Western North Carolina.

The warrant, which can be read here, was issued on Nov. 9, and authorizes an FBI agent to seize “American Liberty Dollar and/or Hawaii Dala currency and/or precious metals of gold, silver, copper, platinum or other substance” located at a company that produced Liberty Dollars in Evansville, Ind.

The Liberty Dollar, a “private currency,” is backed by gold or silver and, its advocates claim, completely legal. Asheville also has its own Liberty Dollar office.

While the warrant does mention that “there is now certain property” in Western North Carolina “which is subject to forfeiture,” the nature of the connection to the raid in Indiana is unclear. Sue Ellen Pierce, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told Xpress that we’ve received a lot of calls about this. This is an unusual situation—we have nothing open and available at this time and I’m not authorized to speak on the matter. We can’t comment.”

The warrant alleges the right to seize the Liberty Dollars and related materials because of a relation to mail fraud and money laundering. Liberty Dollars are produced by a private mint in Idaho.

Kevin Innes, who runs Asheville Liberty Dollar, said that he’s puzzled by the raid.

“I talked directly to the police when we first started up about three or four years ago,” Innes said. “We emphasized that this is not legal tender, that it is used for barter. We’re careful not to refer to them as coins. They said we were within our rights.”

He said the raid struck him as “heavy-handed. Why didn’t they just send out a cease-and-desist order?”

However, the U.S. Mint did put out a press release in 2006 that said attempting to use the money in place of legal tender is a federal crime. “Consumers may find advertisements for these medallions confusing and should take note of several issues related to them,” the release read. “The advertisements refer to the product as ‘real money’ and ‘currency.’”

A responding release on the Liberty Dollar website said that the makers have always emphasized that “the Liberty Dollar is not a coin, not legal tender, and backed with inflation proof gold and silver!”

According to a 2006 article from Florida’s Naples Daily News, Claudia Dickens, a spokesperson for the U.S. Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing said that Liberty Dollars were not illegal: “If a merchant wants to accept Liberty Dollars, that is their right,” Dickens said. “As long as the person doesn’t claim it is the legal tender of the land.”

— David Forbes, staff writer

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9 thoughts on “Liberty Dollar raid warrant originated in Asheville

  1. HuH???

    I am just sort of stunned as to first off why the seizure is just now taking place after years of Libertarians touting this currency,
    and for what purpose is Asheville involved??

    What about all the cities in the US who have or are starting their own local currencies?
    I guess it is a good thing that myself and others haven’t initiated that dialogue here (…yet).

  2. jay joslin

    I’m totally in favor of alt currencies and local economies, but the people behind the AVL outfit are no stranger to perpetrating scams that have cost locals a lot of money. I think that the Liberty Dollar is certainly an interesting ideal but the local program is quite tainted from frauds.

    Karma’s a bitch.

  3. Ray Ubinger

    “What about all the cities in the US who have or are starting their own local currencies?”

    Those currencies are not redeemable for precious commodity. Liberty Dollars were, therefore they were inflation-proof, therefore they were becoming a real threat to the Federal Reserve’s fake money.

  4. TheLibertine

    This goes to show you that Americans aren’t allowed to possess real wealth.
    I remember being in a bank in Japan and watching little old ladies put on white gloves and pull out gold bullion for deposit. From what I understand Americans aren’t legally allowed to own gold bullion.
    Then again, what would you expect from a country that doesn’t allow you to truly own property or even your own body or conscience?

  5. Revere Paul

    Jay — could you please elaborate on the scams you allege and who lost money and how?

    I do know that our currency (printed by the federal reserve, a private corporation) is currently being devalued by printing more money to cover inflation. That is a scam of great magnitude.

    Patriots, please Google Ron Paul. Dr. Paul is currently running for president and advocates a departure from fiat currency to one backed up with something tangible be it silver, gold or platinum.

  6. jay joslin

    Revere, the scams involved a group that operated alongside the Liberty Dollar people which involved a complicated and illegal scheme to relieve credit card debt. This was sold as being a network of top-notch lawyers and financial experts which negotiated with the CC companies based on the shadowy concept that the debt you incurred the banks didn’t own to begin with, and could not prove the $ existed (while a futile and ill-informed effort, I still think there may be some validity to this concept). The kit you purchased (along with paying monthly fees) equipped you with letters to send to the companies and books on LaRouchian views of American economy. I won’t argue about the illegitimacy of the Fed, but the manner in which they operated and grossly misrepresented their abilities and knowledge of the “system” was, upon discovery, absolutely infuriating. I know several others who, like myself, tilted at windmills with these people and paid them thousands for their misleading fantasies. And, of course, came away with nothing in the end but severely tainted credit histories (another giant scam and invasion of privacy), more debt, and legal summons. Thousands lost, nothing gained.

    I now can tip my hat to Barnum regarding the birth rate of suckers, and being a statistic therein during a very difficult time in my life. I am still very much on the libertarian side of economics, no doubt. But those who *knowingly and happily extort the ill-informed for their own financial gain* (like I was) have now been hoisted by their own petards, and I won’t deny my delight that these folks are now sucking hard on karma.

  7. john

    Yeah, I remember hearing some folks talking about joining in on that scam. The funny part is they believed it. Like, ‘Oh, I bought all kinds of unnecessary crap with my credit cards, but credit is illegal, so now I dont have to pay it.’
    Yeah, good luck with that, chief.
    Glad to see it’s biting them in the ass now.
    Sucking hard on reality.

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