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The redemption movement consists of supporters of an American conspiracy theory. Redemption theory involves claims that when the U.S. government abandoned the gold standard in 1933, it pledged its citizens as collateral so that it could borrow money. Other theories claim this happened in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve System. The movement also asserts that common citizens can gain access to funds in secret accounts using obscure procedures and regulations.
According to the theory, the government created a fictitious person (or "straw man") corresponding to each newborn citizen with bank accounts initially holding $630,000. The theory further holds that through obscure procedures under the Uniform Commercial Code, a citizen can "reclaim" the straw man and write checks against its accounts.
There have been many well-publicized convictions of citizens attempting to take advantage of this theory. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regards the instructors and promoters of Redemption schemes as fraudsters while the Internal Revenue Service has included the "straw man" claim in its list of frivolous positions that may result in the imposition of a $5,000 penalty when used as the basis for an inaccurate tax return.
The Redemption movement is based on a theory by Roger Elvick, who has been called a "founding father" of the modern redemption movement. The theory is, in part, that for every citizen's birth certificate issued in the U.S. since the 1936 Social Security Act, the government deposits $630,000 in a hidden bank account linked to the newborn American and administered by a Jewish cabal. Redemptionists assert that by completing certain legal maneuvers and filing a series of government forms, the actual person may entitle himself or herself to the $630,000 held in the name of the doppelganger persona created for him or her at birth, and may then access these government funds using "sight drafts". The government views these sight drafts as "rubber checks" and the entire scheme as fraudulent. The federal government has convicted the practitioners of fraud and conspiracy.
Other important documents in this theory are the security agreement, power of attorney, copyright notice, hold-harmless agreement, Form UCC-3, notice of security agreement, birth certificate bond, Form 56 (notice concerning fiduciary relationship), Form W-8BEN (serving notice to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury of the correct status of the issuer of the bond and countering any presumption that the issuer might be considered to be a fictional entity), declaration of status, Form 1040-V, Form 1099-OID, and the Notice of International Commercial Claim in Admiralty Administrative Remedy. It is held, however, that the UCC-1 merely creates a rebuttable presumption, which can be overcome if a man or woman is receiving some sort of benefit from the state as a slave. It is held to be important to not sign documents such as W-4 forms, or if one is to sign them, to also write "under duress".
One element of the theory states that Americans are U.S. nationals, not U.S. citizens, and can therefore avoid taxes by changing their filing status from "U.S. citizen" to "non-resident alien". This argument has been repeatedly rejected by federal courts. Classes are often set up to teach the intricacies of the theory, and books have been published about it in the underground press. Canaanite law is held to be an important source of law and The Wizard of Oz (presumably because of the scarecrow character, i.e. the "straw man") and The Matrix trilogy are held to have important symbolism in reference to this theory, and there is also said to be some connection to the New World Order.
Several people who have followed Roger Elvick's instructions have been convicted. The Internal Revenue Service has included the "straw man" claim in its list of frivolous positions that may result in the imposition of a $5,000 penalty when used as the basis for an inaccurate tax return. Likewise the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regards the instructors and promoters of Redemption schemes as fraudsters.
In June 1991, Roger Elvick was found guilty by a federal jury in Hawaii of conspiracy to impede justice in connection with federal tax filings under 18 U.S.C. § 371 On September 30, 1991, he was fined $100,000, and was sentenced to five years in federal prison and three years of supervised release. Elvick was the national spokesman for the white supremacist group Committee of the States and the president of Common Title, a farm loan scam. He served his time and was released from the federal prison system on December 8, 1997. While incarcerated he was further convicted in another conspiracy. Upon release from prison he restarted the scheme in Ohio, where he was convicted in April 2005 of forgery, extortion and corruption.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, a key figure is Sam Kennedy (whose real name is Glenn Richard Unger), host of the "Take No Prisoners” program on Republic Broadcasting Network in Round Rock, Texas. In a mass e-mail early in 2010, Unger vowed to use his show to present a "final remedy to the enslavement at the hands of corporations posing as legitimate government." He pointed to a plan to "end economic warfare and political terror by March 31, 2010.” In two months, he said, “we can and WILL, BE FREE with your assistance." As of mid-2013, Unger is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in Albany, New York, on one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of the U.S. internal revenue laws, four counts of filing false claims for over $36 million in tax refunds, one count of tax evasion, and one count of uttering a fictitious obligation.
Redemption movement proponent Barton Buhtz has written that when a UCC form is processed by a state's UCC filing office, it becomes a public legal record/fact and that those who have filed UCC-1 Financing Statements correctly have not broken the law. In October 2007, Buhtz was found guilty of conspiracy to pass approximately $3.8 million in false U.S. Treasury instruments. He was sentenced to three years in prison, and was released on November 27, 2012.