Las Vegas Sun

January 19, 2018

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Member of anti-government group convicted of money laundering after two years on the lam

After two years as a fugitive, a member of the anti-government group known as Sovereign Movement was convicted Tuesday of money laundering, conspiracy and failing to appear in court, Nevada U.S. District Attorney Daniel Bogden said.

Nevada U.S. District Judge James Mahan found Shawn Rice, 49, of Seligman, Ariz., guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, 13 counts of money laundering and four counts of failure to appear after a two-day trial. Bogden said Rice will be sentenced Oct. 24.

He could receive up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy and money laundering counts, and 10 years for each count of failure to appear, Bogden said.

Bogden said evidence at the trial indicated Rice and co-defendant Samuel Davis, 57, of Council, Idaho, had laundered $1.3 million from March 2008 to March 2009. Attorneys believed the money came from theft and forgery of stolen official bank checks.

The duo laundered the money through a nominee trust account controlled by Davis and a religious organization controlled by Rice, Bogden said. Davis received $74,000 for the laundering and Rice $22,000.

Rice had originally been charged in March 2009, but he failed to show up in court for the next two years until he was rearrested in December 2011. Davis is still a fugitive, Bogden said.

Rice and Davis are known members of the Sovereign Movement group, Bogden said. Members believe that the United States tricked Americans into obtaining identification forms like Social Security cards.

Group members often attempt to disrupt and overthrow the government through intimidation, harassment and violence among other tactics, Bogden said. They also believe that U.S. currency is invalid. Members often use fraudulent money orders, personal checks and sight drafts, many times to pay off creditors.

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