|Sovereign Citizens arrested|
A year-long joint investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of ten individuals, including two from Cocke County, on charges of unlawfully filing liens and making false entries into records. In May 2016, TBI Special Agents began investigating reports that, over a period of several years, multiple individuals from East Tennessee had filed Uniform Commercial Code liens and financing statements with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office in Nashville. The liens were filed against dozens of different individuals across the state, encumbering their property. The liens were filed in the amounts of $4-million to $12-million. The victims who had liens filed against them range from citizens employed by government entities, police officers and attorneys, to elected and appointed officials, including city and county mayors, sheriffs, and members of the judiciary. On January 24th, the Davidson County Grand Jury returned indictments charging multiple individuals with a combined total of 320 counts of two charges; Draw a Lien without a Legal Basis, which is an E Felony, and Forgery $250,000 or more, a class A Felony. On Wednesday, simultaneous arrests of these individuals in Anderson, Cocke, Greene, and Knox counties were conducted by law enforcement officers with TBI, FBI, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Departement of Safety and Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Morristown Police, Cocke County Sheriff, Newport Police, Greene County Sheriff, Jefferson County Sheriff, and other agencies. The individuals were transported to Davidson County and booked into the Davidson County Jail. Those arrested locally as a result of these indictments are; Christopher Alan Hauser, 51, Del Rio – 21 counts Draw a Lien without a Legal Basis, 21 counts Forgery $250,000 or more. Ronald James Lyons, 52, Newport - 30 counts Draw a Lien without a Legal Basis, 30 counts Forgery $250,000 or more. James Michael Usinger, 64, Greeneville - 22 counts Draw a Lien without a Legal Basis, 22 counts Forgery $250,000 or more. The defendants are part of a "Sovereign Citizen" movement which denies the legitimacy of local, state and federal government. Most are adherents of right-wing conspiracy theories and refuse to follow laws, arguing they are not citizens of the United States. Bond for each defendant is set at $150,000. One individual named in the indictment has not yet been arrested.