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Liberty Dollars may be subject to seizure
By Mike Sussman

Liberty Dollars May Be Subject to Seizure : On March 18, 2011 the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina issued a press release with the headline, “Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency.” The article explains that Bernard von NotHaus was convicted after an eight day trial with less than two hours of jury deliberation. He was found guilty specifically “…of making coins resembling and similar to United States coin; 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.”

Von NotHaus, the founder of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code, known as NORFED as well as Liberty Services, was president of NORFED and the executive director of Liberty Dollar Services. He designed the Liberty Dollar coins that were marked with the dollar sign, the word dollar, USA, Liberty, and Trust in God, a motto similar to the United States currency motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

Since 1998, NORFED has attempted to circulate Liberty Dollars in the United States and Puerto Rico by mixing them into the current money of the country. The stated purpose of this action was to limit reliance on and compete with United States currency.

The United States Mint, in coordination with the Department of Justice issued a warning to American citizens that the Liberty Dollar was “not legal tender.” Use of the Liberty Dollars as circulating money, according to the Department of Justice, is a federal crime.

U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins said that NORFED attempted to undermine the legitimate currency of the country, which is, “…simple a unique form of domestic terrorism.” She declared that, “…these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, [however,] they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country.” She added, “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

NORFED responded that the Liberty Dollar never claimed to be legal tender. They said it was a numismatic piece or medallion which may be used voluntarily as barter. However, Ron Whitney, executive director of the International Reciprocal Trade Association, said that the Liberty Dollars are not part of the modern trade and barter industry.

The lead prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jill Rose, said that Liberty Dollars can be confiscated as contraband even if they are only exhibited for educational purposes. A Secret Service agent Glen Kessler, assistant special agent in charge in North Carolina, said that if an agent witnessed something that was thought to be contraband, it would be confiscated. Meanwhile, after the conviction, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte said that possession of the medallion was not a violation unless there was the intent to use them as von NotHaus did.

An exhibit of Liberty Dollars for the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois wan banned by the ANA because the Department of Justice had not issued a declaration that the Dollars could be exhibited without fear of confiscation even for educational purposes. The previous exhibit of Liberty Dollars was in April 2011 at the Central States Numismatic Society Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, one month after von NotHaus was convicted. Steven Bieda, CSNS legal counsel, said that he didn’t see from federal authorities that they planned to confiscate Liberty Dollars that were privately held. He said, “I note that the pieces are being sold and trade on on-line auction sites such as eBay, and have personally seen these pieces sold at local coin shows and coin shops, all without any apparent legal consequence. Thus, it would be my recommendation that should an exhibitor want to place an exhibit involving these pieces, and assuming that all the relevant exhibitor criteria is satisfied, that they be allowed to do so; [however if] the federal government or any other legal authority were to take legal action…that risk is entirely on the exhibitor.”

Liberty Dollars may be subject to seizure
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