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August 30, 2014

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Sovereign citizen’ gets 8 years in money laundering case

A man known to reject government authority as a member of the “sovereign movement” was slammed with a federal sentence Wednesday of 98 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $1.29 million in assets.

Shawn Rice, 50, was convicted last July on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, 13 counts of money laundering, and four counts of failure to appear, the U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada said in a release.

The Seligman, Ariz., resident was also ordered to pay $98,782 in restitution and three years of supervised release once he leaves prison.

“Persons who commit financial crimes victimize organizations, government and the public,” said U.S. attorney Daniel Bogden. “Our office and our federal partners will work jointly with local and state law enforcement to ensure that these persons are caught and prosecuted.”

Officials said Rice and co-defendant Samuel Davis, 57, charged clients for their money laundering services.

The two were first charged in March 2009. Officials said Rice failed to make required court appearances in the case on March 8 and March 9 of 2010, and was a fugitive for almost two years before he was re-arrested in December 2011.

Davis pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October 2011 to 57 months in prison, but failed to self report, officials said. He was then tracked down last August in Stanley, S.D.

Davis and Rice are heavily involved in the "sovereign movement," officials said. Members believe that the U.S. government is illegitimate and its currency is invalid, officials said, and they don’t believe in paying taxes or being subject to U.S. laws. Members of the group have been accused of committing a series of financial fraud crimes, or “paper terrorism.”

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