North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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September 30, 2013

Pinson sovereign-citizen movement supporter is sentenced for financial fraud

BIRMINGHAM — A Pinson man who identifies himself as a "sovereign citizen" will serve time in federal prison for financial fraud.

Donald Joe Barber was given a two-year sentence by U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson on Monday.  Barber, 64, was convicted in April of mailing a "bonded promissory note" to his mortgage company to satisfy payment. According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, "Barber presented the fraudulent $10 million note as if it were a valid financial instrument drawn on a secret U.S. government account."

Barber will serve his federal sentence after he completes those he's currently serving on other state charges. After his release, he will serve two years' probation.

The sovereign citizen movement is a losse-knit group which claims that federal, state and local governments have no authority over them, and refuse to recognize U.S. currency. The movement is classified by the FBI as an anti-government extremist group.

"Members of the Sovereign Citizen movement embrace an unfounded, mythological history of the United States to claim that they live outside the authority of government and its laws," Vance said in her statement.

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