Federal Pirates Out to Steal Private Silver Coins


The latest news on the ongoing injustice against convicted Liberty Dollars maker and dealer Bernard Von NotHaus, from Seattle Times via AP:

Federal prosecutors on Monday tried to take a hoard of silver "Liberty Dollars" worth about $7 million that authorities say was invented by an Indiana man to compete with U.S. currency.

Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was convicted last month in federal court in Statesville on conspiracy and counterfeiting charges for making and selling the currency, which he promoted as inflation-proof competition for the U.S. dollar.

His Charlotte-based lawyer, Aaron Michel, is appealing that verdict. He wrote in a motion filed Thursday that von NotHaus did nothing wrong because he didn't try to pass the Liberty Dollars off as U.S. dollars…..

The case involves more than five tons of Liberty Dollars and precious metals seized from a warehouse, which the government wants to take by forfeiture, according to federal prosecutors and Michel….

Von NotHaus has argued it's not illegal to create currency to privately trade goods and services. He also has said his organization took pains to say the Liberty Dollars shouldn't be called "coins" and shouldn't be presented as government-minted cash….

Numerous cities and regions around the country have experimented with local currency, but laws restrict them from resembling U.S. bills or from being passed off as money printed by the federal government.

The concerns raised by von NotHaus and his group are finding resonance among some state lawmakers, too. About a dozen states have legislation that would allow them to produce their own currency backed by gold or silver in the event of hyperinflation striking the U.S. dollar. North and South Carolina are among those states.

And of course in the mix, for absolutely no good reason whatever? The Southern Poverty Law Center, fanner of the flames of centrist hysteria:

That's partly why von NotHaus' group has been followed for years by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks political extremism. Long before the government began its investigation into von NotHaus, the group was raising concerns about the popularity of Liberty Dollars among fringe groups on the far right.

"He's playing on a core idea of the radical right, that evil bankers in the Federal Reserve are ripping you off by controlling the money supply," said Mark Potok, spokesman for the group. "He very much exists in the world of the anti-government patriot movement, whatever he may say. That's who his customers are."

Von NotHaus is currently free on bond. If the conviction against him is upheld, he faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $750,000. A sentencing date has not been set yet.

Von NotHaus talked about the case with a Michigan NBC station:

"People are interested in their money and when they know they're getting screwed, they get real interested in their money and that's why the government cracked down on Liberty Dollar," von NotHaus tells NBC25.

In 2010, NBC25 did a series of stories on this competing currency with thousands of people liking it and sharing it on Facebook.

Liberty Dollar says its product is different from and superior to U.S. legal tender because it's inflation-proof and based on the value of precious metals.

"In the last 10 years, the Liberty Dollar went from a $10 base to a $50 base. It increased in value 500%. The other currency in the last ten years lost 50% of its purchasing power," says von NotHaus. "How can a counterfeit be worth more than the original?"

Past Reason writings on this case.

NOTE: The original headline, now corrected, referred mistakenly to gold coins, not the proper silver.