A federal judge in North Carolina Dec. 2 sentenced Bernard von NotHaus, creator of the Liberty Dollar private voluntary barter
currency, to three years probation for his 2011 conviction on charges
the Liberty Dollar violates federal counterfeiting statutes.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Voorhees in Statesville
sentenced von NotHaus, who is 70 years old, to three years probation
on each of the three counts for which a jury found him guilty on March
19, 2011. The sentences are to run concurrently. Von NotHaus was also
sentenced to six months house arrest.
Von NotHaus had faced up to 22 years in federal prison, the maximum
penalty sought by federal prosecutors. On Nov. 10, Judge Voorhees
rejected von NotHaus’s appeal to have the conviction set aside.
Von NotHaus was convicted by a jury “of making coins resembling and
similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and
possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar
coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the
Von NotHaus, the self-described “monetary architect” behind the
Liberty Dollar, founded the National Organization for the Repeal of
the Federal Reserve Act, or NORFED, to create and circulate the
Liberty Dollar. NORFED produced its first Liberty Dollars in 1998.
Von NotHaus dissolved NORFED as an entity in December 2006 and
renamed the business Liberty Services.
Liberty Dollars were typically manufactured as .999 fine silver
rounds (though some were struck in copper and others in gold) and as
paper certificates in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20. The paper
Liberty Dollars were backed by silver, and the silver rounds were
minted by the private Sunshine Mint in Idaho.
According to von NotHaus, Liberty Dollars were made to circulate as
“private voluntary barter currency” and were never intended to be
mistaken for United States legal tender. However, the federal
government, acting on a complaint, saw things differently, seizing
Liberty Service assets in 2007, which included millions of dollars in
Liberty Dollars owned by von NotHaus’s customers.
The civil forfeiture proceedings involving the seized property are ongoing.
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