Federal government to return millions in Liberty Dollars
- Published: Aug 19, 2015, 7 AM
Millions of dollars' worth of silver, gold, platinum and copper Liberty Dollar medallions and related property seized by federal authorities in 2007 will be returned to their owners, according to court documents.
The return of that property, however, is being delayed until all petitions filed seeking return of the property have been completely processed and any appeals finalized.
In documents filed Aug. 14 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Statesville by Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westemoreland Rose, 265 of the 302 petitions filed for the return of property were approved.
The court documents indicate the government is willing to settle 27 petitions in part. Seven petitions have been denied, four are in question and one petition is to be refiled.
The approved petitions also include paid-for but unfulfilled orders for Liberty Dollars.
Despite the 2011 conviction of Liberty Dollar creator Bernard von NotHaus on charges related to the manufacture and distribution of Liberty Dollars, U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Voorhees ruled in late 2014 that seized property not deemed as contraband should be returned pursuant to ownership claims.
Von NotHaus, who faced 22 years in prison for his 2011 conviction, was sentenced Dec. 2, 2014, by Judge Voorhees to three years of probation and six months under house arrest.
Von NotHaus introduced the Liberty Dollar in 1998, marketing the pieces using NORFED, the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Code. The organization touted Liberty Dollars as an alternative to Federal Reserve notes, and sought to develop a network of merchants that would accept them in lieu of Federal Reserve notes.
Liberty Dollars are minted metal rounds, gold and silver certificates and electronic currency. The rounds or medallions were issued in silver, gold, platinum and copper, bearing different obverse and reverse designs and face values. A 2006 suit filed against the government by von NotHaus asked that the court declare Liberty Dollars as a "private voluntary barter currency."
NORFED continued until December 2006 when the entity was dissolved. It re-emerged as Liberty Services, doing business as Liberty Dollar.
Millions of dollars in Liberty Services Inc. assets and those held for Liberty Services customers were seized in November 2007 by federal authorities.
Most of that physical metal was seized from the premises of Sunshine Minting, the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, concern that minted the Liberty Dollars seized.
Von NotHaus and three associates were indicted in May 2009 on charges associated with the Liberty Dollar production, sale and distribution.
Von NotHaus was convicted March 18, 2011, in federal court in Statesville, N.C., on charges 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 United States.
Proponents of the Liberty Dollar argue that the Liberty Dollar is not legal tender and has not been promoted as current money.
Meanwhile, since the seizure, prices for many Liberty Dollar issues, especially those with limited mintages, continue to rise in the secondary market.
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