The Liberty Dollar
Bernard von NotHaus is the creator of the Liberty Dollar and co-founder of the Royal Hawaiian Mint Company. He created the Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu. Von NotHaus was labeled as a domestic terrorist by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2011.
Griffin's advocation of a free-market, private-money system superior to the Fed caused Bernard von NotHaus to deploy such a system in 1998. Griffin states that von NotHaus's private silver certificates, known as Liberty Dollars, are "real money".
According to the evidence introduced during his 2011 federal criminal trial in connection with his involvement with the Liberty Dollar, von NotHaus was the founder of an organization called the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code, commonly known as NORFED and also known as Liberty Services. The FBI claimed that NORFED’s purpose was to mix Liberty Dollars into the current money of the United States and that NORFED intended for the Liberty Dollar to be used as current money in order to limit reliance on, and to compete with, United States currency.
Federal Government Raid and Confiscation
- In September 2006 U.S. Mint informed Liberty Dollar users that federal prosecutors had determined that the circulation of the medallions is a federal crime.
- In 2007 about a dozen federal government agents seized nearly two tons of coins that featured the image of Ron Paul, a Texas congressman. They also took about 500 pounds of silver and 40 to 50 ounces of gold.
Arrest and convictionIn connection with the Liberty Dollar business, a federal grand jury brought an indictment against von NotHaus and three others in May 2009, and von NotHaus was arrested on June 6, 2009. VonNotHaus was charged with one count of conspiracy to possess and sell coins in resemblance and similitude of coins of a denomination higher than five cents, and silver coins in resemblance of genuine coins of the United States in denominations of five dollars and greater, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 485, 18 U.S.C. § 486, and 18 U.S.C. § 371; one count of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 18 U.S.C. § 2; one count of selling, and possessing with intent to defraud, coins of resemblance and similitude of United States coins in denominations of five cents and higher, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 485 and 18 U.S.C. § 2; and one count of uttering, passing, and attempting to utter and pass, silver coins in resemblance of genuine U.S. coins in denominations of five dollars or greater, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 486 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
On July 28, 2009, von NotHaus entered a plea of not guilty.
On March 18, 2011, after a 90 minute jury deliberation, von NotHaus was found guilty on various counts, including the making of "counterfeit coins" (resembling legal tender coins). Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, Anne M. Tompkins, described Bernard von NotHaus and the Liberty dollar as "a unique form of domestic terrorism” that is trying “to undermine the legitimate currency of this country.” The Justice Department press release quotes her as saying: “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country".
Post-convictionAlthough he was convicted in March 2011, the U.S. government has still not reached a sentencing decision for Von NotHaus. Since his trial, The New York Times has described Von Nothaus as "the Rosa Parks of the constitutional currency movement", for his creation of an alternative currency that is valued at "more than 60 million dollars." Von Nothaus presently resides in a Malibu mansion that was lent to him by a friend.
“This is the United States government,” he said in an interview. “It’s got all the guns, all the surveillance, all the tanks, it has nuclear weapons, and it’s worried about some ex-surfer guy making his own money? Give me a break!”....
At 68, Mr. von NotHaus faces more than 20 years in prison for his crimes, and this decisive chapter of his tale has come, coincidentally, at a moment when his obsessions of 40 years — monetary policy, dollar depreciation and the Federal Reserve Bank — have finally found their place in the national discourse.
Indeed they have, thanks to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who understands as von NotHaus does that metals have a better track record at maintaining longterm value than government fiat paper.
I'm surprised the Times's reporter apparently got von NotHaus to use the word "coins" since whether or not these were meant to emulate U.S. coins was such a sticking point in his legal travails. He would always insist to me when we spoke that his Liberty Dollars were to be called "rounds," and were a “voluntary private barter currency,” a phrase that appeared on the rounds in later mintings.
Details on how vonNotHaus ended up in legal trouble, which shows that it was having anti-government attitudes and "links," not his alleged "crime," behind the prosecution/persecution:
Mr. von NotHaus placed a toll-free number and a URL address on the currency he produced. If people mistakenly got hold of it, they could mail it back to Evansville and receive its equivalent in actual dollar bills.Von NotHaus, still free awaiting sentencing, has a warning:
Now jump ahead to 2004. A detective in Asheville, N.C., learned one day that a client of a credit union had to tried to pass a “fake coin” at one its local branches. An investigation determined that some business acquaintances of Mr. von NotHaus were, court papers say, allied with the sovereign citizens’ movement, an antigovernment group.
Federal agents infiltrated the Liberty Dollar outfit as well as its educational arm, Liberty Dollar University.
In 2006, with millions of the coins in circulation in more than 80 cities, the United States Mint sent Mr. von NotHaus a letter advising that the use of his currency “as circulating money” was a federal crime.
He ignored this advice, and in 2007, federal agents raided the offices in Evansville, seizing, among other things, copper dollars embossed with the image of Mr. [Ron] Paul.
Two years later, Mr. von NotHaus was arrested on fraud and counterfeiting charges, accused of having used the Liberty Dollar’s parent corporation — Norfed, the National Organization for Repeal of the Federal Reserve — to mount a conspiracy against the United States.
“The thing that fires me up the most,” he will say, “is this is what happens: When money goes bad, people go crazy. Do you know why? Because they can’t exist without value. Value is intrinsic in man.”When the initial raid on von NotHaus' operations happened, in mid-November 2007, an ounce of silver was worth around $14.50 in "real" U.S. currency. Today, $32.14. Gold was worth around $790; today, $1711.90.
The dollar of 2007, meanwhile, according to this inflation calculator, is worth just 93 cents now. Just sayin', as the kids just say.
Von NotHaus denied that he had broken any laws. He said the allegations are meant to deflect attention from a real problem: the dollar’s decline in purchasing power.
“Their currency is losing value and our currency is gaining in value,” von NotHaus said. “And they don’t like that.”
Liberty Gold International, Ltd; Patent Issued for Apparatus, System, and Method for an Asset-Backed Purchase CardThe patent's assignee for patent number 8296226 is Liberty Gold International, Ltd (Wellington, NZ).
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to credit/debit transactions and more particularly relates to asset backed purchase cards.
"A common way to purchase goods and services in the modern economy is the credit card. A credit card allows a credit provider to effectively lend the user money to cover the cost of a purchase. When a purchase is made, the credit card issuer pays the purchase price to the seller, often withholding a fee for the service. In addition, the credit card user agrees to pay the card issuer the price of the purchase. At regular intervals, the card user is issued a bill from the credit card issuer for payment of money to cover the cost of purchases and any associated fees. Charge cards operate under similar principles, but require the charge card user to pay the entire balance at a regular interval.
"Credit card users often face difficulties in paying the bills associated with their credit cards. Interest charges can be high, as can other fees associated with the use of the card. One justification for these high costs is the risk taken on by the credit card issuer associated with the loan in relation to inflation. The relative value of the loan may decrease under inflationary pressures, therefore, the lender must make a substantial return to hedge that risk.
"A similar purchase system is the debit card, which requires the card user to maintain an account funded with money. A debit card allows a debit provider to pay the seller the price of the transaction and debit the price against the funds in the card user's account. Debit cards shift the risk associated with devaluation of the currency funding the account to the debit card user, who must maintain a balance of money in order to use the debit card. Inflation reduces the purchasing power of the money in the account, and a debit card user may find that the value of the money tied up in the debit card account is dramatically lower than it was when deposited.
"In the U.S., credit, debit, and charge cards use the U.S. dollar to pay for purchases, calculate finance charges, and determine the amount owed. Card users in other countries typically use their local currency to track the amounts in debit or credit accounts. Regardless of the local currency used, inflation poses a risk to the users of the cards, either as increased costs and fees or as a direct risk to a deposit account backing a debit card."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "From the foregoing discussion, it should be apparent that a need exists for an apparatus, system, and method for a purchase card that protects the credit user from the risk of inflation. Beneficially, such an apparatus, system, and method would allow the user to conveniently purchase goods and services without paying the costs associated with the risk of currency inflation or carrying that risk.
"The present invention has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to the problems and needs in the art that have not yet been fully solved by currently available credit and debit cards. Accordingly, the present invention has been developed to provide an apparatus, system, and method for an asset-backed purchase card that overcome many or all of the above-discussed shortcomings in the art.
"The apparatus to process a transaction for an asset-backed purchase card is provided with a plurality of modules configured to functionally execute the necessary steps of processing a transaction for an asset-backed purchase card. These modules in the described embodiments include a house account module, an asset exchange module, and a debit module. The house account module, in one embodiment, maintains a house account, the house account comprising one or more assets, each of the one or more assets having a substantially continually updated spot purchase price.
"In certain embodiments, the asset exchange module receives funds from a consumer in exchange for a portion of the one or more assets from the house account. A quantity of the asset exchanged for the funds is based on an internal spot price of the asset at the time the funds are received. The quantity of the asset purchased by the consumer increases a balance in a purchase account of the consumer". Click Here For Additional Information.
Von NotHaus, who calls himself the monetary architect of the Liberty Dollar, said his coins are not counterfeits. For one, the design on Liberty Dollars is different from anything on U.S. currency. And the Liberty Dollar is larger than the silver dollar.
Most importantly, von NotHaus said, the Liberty Dollar is made out of materials that hold their value: silver and gold. Recognizing that, a number of merchants have elected to accept the Liberty Dollar in return for goods or services, he said.
Von NotHaus didn’t know how many businesses were now using his “private voluntary currency.” A list of them was seized during a federal raid on the Liberty Dollar’s properties, conducted in November 2007.
“It’s like a club,” von NotHaus said. “You can join the club and use the currency or you don’t have to. There is nothing compulsory here.”
There hasn’t been a cease-and-desist order issued to prohibit the production of Liberty Dollars, von NotHaus said. He speculated that federal officials have avoided taking that step because they lack the legal grounds.
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