Published Friday, March 6, 2009 | 3:51 p.m.
Updated Friday, March 6, 2009 | 5:28 p.m.
Four members of an anti-government movement, known as the "Sovereign Movement," have been arrested after a three-year investigation by the Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force on allegations of money laundering, tax evasion and possessing unregistered machine guns.
The four men were arrested Thursday in the Las Vegas area, said Greg Brower, U.S. Attorney for Nevada.
Samuel Davis, 54, of Council, Idaho; Shawn Rice, 46, of Seligman, Ariz.; Harold Call, 67, of Las Vegas; and Jan Lindsey, 66, of Henderson, were taken into custody, Brower said.
Davis and Rice are charged in a federal indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 30 counts of money laundering. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on each count.
Call is charged in a federal indictment with two counts of possession and transfer of a machine gun and three counts of possession of an unregistered machine gun. If convicted, Call faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Undercover agents working for the FBI infiltrated the anti-government group, which often met at a Denny's restaurant at Fremont Street and Boulder Highway, and for $750 purchased parts from Call to turn guns into machine guns, the search warrants said.
Call in one phone conversation said he phoned the IRS to see whether his account had been credited. He said that after asking a woman IRS four times for his account balance, Call learned the IRS had not credited his account. In the phone call with the undercover FBI agent, Call said, "Every time I talk to the IRS, I just want to go kill somebody."
In addition to the STEN machine gun, the task force seized a mill and other equipment that allowed Call to transform weapons into machine guns and he demonstrated an AR-15 rifle he had converted to allow for fully automatic firing.
Lindsey is charged in a federal indictment with one count of evasion of payment of tax and four counts of tax evasion. If convicted, Lindsey faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
The indictments were returned by a federal grand jury Tuesday and unsealed on Thursday. The defendants were to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leavitt on Friday.
From March 2008 through the date of the indictment, Davis and Rice allegedly laundered about $1.3 million for FBI undercover agents, court records show. Davis and Rice were told by the undercover agents that the monies were proceeds of a bank fraud scheme, specifically from the theft and forgery of stolen official bank checks.
Davis and Rice laundered the money through a nominee trust account controlled by Davis and through an account of a purported religious organization controlled by Rice. The men took about $74,000 and $22,000, respectively, in fees for their money laundering services before handing the rest of the funds to the undercover FBI agents.
Davis is allegedly a national leader of the anti-government movement, traveling nationwide to teach different theories and ideologies of the movement, court records said. Rice allegedly claims that he is a lawyer and Rabbi, and uses his law school education and businesses to promote his sovereign ideas and to gain credibility in the community.
Call allegedly possessed and transferred an "auto sear" or "lightning link," a combination of firearm parts designed to convert a weapon from a single-shot manual one to automatic use, on Sept. 11, 2008, and Jan. 20, 2009, the court records said. Call allegedly possessed a STEN machine gun on Oct. 9, 2008, which was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
Lindsey is a retired FBI agent. He and Call are leaders of the Nevada Lawmen Group for Public Awareness, a group that is associated with the sovereign movement.
Lindsey allegedly failed to timely file or pay federal income tax for the years 1999 through 2006, and committed various acts designed to hide his income and assets from the IRS, including filing false tax returns, making false statements to the IRS, placing funds and property in the names of nominees, using fake negotiable instruments to attempt to pay his taxes and filing false documents with the IRS and Clark County.
In a detailed search warrant unsealed Friday, authorities said Lindsey underwent and passed a background investigation in 2000 for his work conducting FBI background checks, but in 2005 he revealed he had not filed his income taxes. The FBI's Security Division determined he was a security risk and did not grant him clearances.
The search warrant said Lindsey owes the IRS $333,397.78 for unpaid taxes from 1999 to 2002.
On May 7, 2008, Lindsey filed a false tax form for 2000 saying his wife earned $13,638.33 from Azurix and $7,249.77 from Enron, when IRS wage records show she earned $169,109 and $174,142, respectively, from the two companies.
Unsealed search warrant affidavits allege that Rice, Davis, Lindsey and Call are heavily involved in the "Sovereign Movement," an extreme anti-government organization whose members attempt to disrupt and overthrow government and other forms of authority by using "paper terrorist" tactics, intimidation, harassment and violence, court records said.
Members of the group believe they do not have to pay taxes and believe the federal government deceived Americans into obtaining Social Security cards, drivers' licenses, car registrations and wedding licenses, among other official records. The group believes that if these contracts are revoked, persons are "sovereign citizens."
Members of this group also believe that U.S. currency is invalid. They widely use fictitious financial instruments, such as fake money orders, personal checks and sight drafts, and participate in "redemption" schemes where the false financial documents are used to pay creditors.
The FBI-led Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force includes the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Henderson Police Department, IRS Criminal Investigation, Metro Police, the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the North Las Vegas Police Department in addition to other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Nevada, Council, Idaho, and Flagstaff and Seligman, Ariz.