ATLANTA, GA – February 20, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — State Representative B.J. Pak (R-Lilburn) today announced the introduction of House Bill 997, which protects law enforcement personnel and other public servants from the growing problem of having false liens filed against their personal property by individuals calling themselves “sovereign citizens.”
“False liens can threaten an individual’s ability to obtain credit or sell property,” said Rep. Pak. “Our law enforcement officers work long hours to keep us safe. We must make all efforts to deter the criminal elements from filing these fraudulent liens that are designed to harass and intimidate our men and women in uniform.”
“Sovereign citizens” believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. By declaring themselves as sovereign citizens, these individuals believe they are emancipated from the responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen, and therefore no longer need to pay taxes, possess a state driver’s license, or obey the law.
While simply refusing to obey the law is the most basic premise of the sovereign citizen movement, some take their beliefs a step further and actively harass law enforcement, officers of the court, and other government officials by filing fraudulent liens against their property Some of these false liens have disclosed individuals’ social security numbers and other personal indentifying information.
Members of the group also convene their own special courts that issue fake, but realistic-looking indictments, warrants, and other documents. The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists to be a domestic terrorist organization.
To combat this growing problem, HB 997 makes it a separate crime for a person to knowingly file a false lien or encumbrance in a public record or private record that is generally available to the public, against the real or personal property of a public officer or a public employee. Individuals found guilty of this crime will be punished by imprisonment between one and ten years, a fine less than $10,000, or both.
For more information on HB 997, please click here.
Representative B.J. Pak represents the citizens of District 102, which includes portions of Gwinnett County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves on the Health & Human Services, Judiciary Non-Civil, and the Code Revision committees.