Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Re-re-re-re-re-reruns - A Guide to Debt Elimination Schemes

Sometimes along side the aforementioned (below) band of ignorant (or deliberately foolish) tax protesters and dodgers are their less risk-taking, like-minded, self-interested brothers and sisters who choose to go unarmed into battle with various financial entities with what really are nonsense theories. A lot of these share the same fundamental theoretical roots but there are fewer convicted perpetrators.

What they think they’re armed with, the sure-fire “process,” to get out of debts without paying the creditor is rarely anything more than a revamping of old schemes that have never worked before. Apparently they seem to sound impressive in new prose, but attempting to use any of them dooms what might be an actually defrauded borrower from prevailing in a legal setting. And frequently, they steer actual victims away from legitimate legal counsel.

All of these schemes share some commonalities, including several legal mythologies and various forms of allegedly complex conspiracies mixed with secrets the public isn’t supposed to know. Stir in some suspicion for the evil motives of the powers-that-be, add a pinch of questionably interpreted legal lexicon and you have a product for a receptive target market.

Another thing the schemes share is a sort-of family-tree of promoters, some of which are associates or acolytes of convicted criminals and others that just haven’t gotten into the range of the prosecutor’s radar. Their like-minded genealogy can be traced to the disaffected, conspiracy-driven, anti-establishment community which includes the more radical so-called “patriot” movements and some seriously dangerous even further-out-there groups.

Those foolish enough to take on the IRS are the most exposed to prosecution and their names show up in newspaper stories from time to time while few of the debt-elimination scammers warrant anything other than being outed and derided on the Internet, or in the case of the Dorean Group, a handful of articles in trade news outlets.

Few of the participants are doubly-stupid in today’s information-rich environment, thus we probably won’t see another attempt to use a “UCC / strawman /ALL CAPS NAME / redemption” scheme to thwart the IRS unless someone is working from a really outdated hardcopy source they found among someone’s dusty piles of cheaply produced self-published books. But credit card companies, as utterly abusive and out-of-control as they are, probably get dozens of nonsense letters every day from rookies who Googled their way into a trying (or worse, paying someone for) a process for getting out from under their crushing debt without having to actually pay it. Instead of winding up with no debt, the hopeful debtor learns a harder, more costly and disappointing lesson in how the law really works. And if they had the misfortune to have paid one of the scammers, they eventually discover the doctrine of unclean hands prevents them from bringing any kind of viable civil action.

Because of the Internet, there seems to be no end in sight to the reuse of the same root mythologies, half-truths, tortured logic and context-mangling cut and paste quotes and citations. Web sites are so easy to launch and links to others so easy to implement that anyone with average skills can put themselves into the debt elimination business almost overnight. All you really have to do is blend some number of the old theories into a slightly different, seemingly-coherent message as if there’s a new and improved theory to get paid for.

Finding a new angle will help to differentiate you but plowing overly-creative new ground will take inordinate amounts of your time. And keep in mind there are limits to the beneficial effects of being really creative. Some who peddle nonsense like Paul Andrew Mitchell, David Wynn Miller, David Merrill Van Pelt and Shaini Goodwin have wandered so far off into lala land that even the less-than-knowledgeable reader will shake their head and worry about all the people in this country who can’t get proper medical attention. Others like David Icke are clearly selling nothing more than an entertainment product and are compellingly goofy enough to even get overnight radio promotion time. So making new stuff up, while seemingly easy, can backfire in terms of the numbers of prospective paying customers for a debt elimination scheme.

So, here are Judge Bean’s tips for setting up a debt-elimination scheme:

- It’s probably a little too soon to revive some of the scams, so do your research. For example, mimicking the Dorean Group's highly-complex scheme would be problematic; they’ll be sentenced about the time you get your first web pages published. But there are parts of it that sound so mysterious that it will easily fool some people. Also, the Bill Of Exchange (BOE) thing is a little too hot for a while what with Barton Buhtz 's recent conviction. The private arbitration company thing has proven to be a major loser, too. Then again, your customer base probably doesn’t know or believe any of that, but choose carefully or wait until the stories die off into Google’s later pages before you ressurect another one of those.

- As far as content goes, first and foremost, you need to establish a shared evil opponent, so you have to include mysteries about banks, money and the Federal Reserve. If you don’t like the ones that are out there, feel free to embellish or even rewrite history. Adding things about the IMF and the NWO is nice fluff to fill out some space.

- Try to avoid addressing the issue of accepting FRN’s even though you have to say they aren’t real money.

- Remember “international bankers” sounds more devious than just “banks.”

- Spin in plenty of legal-sounding phrases about promissory notes, bank credit, assets, balance sheets, GAAP and the all-important “wet-ink" signature.

- Assert that you have a team. You have experts in, well, whatever suits your fancy just as long as there are initials after their names that imply credibility.


- Dig up the Credit River myth or at least provide a link to a site that does, but make sure you choose a web site that doesn’t include the whole story.

- Sovereignty isn’t really a big attraction for your average, apolitical, non-fringe element borrower in trouble, but it does give you street cred with the protest-minded. If you decide to tap into that market, remember to use the word “jurisdiction” a lot.

- Be sure to include statements throughout your site that comfort the prospective customer/co-conspirator’s conscience, i.e., assure them your process is “moral.” But don’t stoop to the “it’s moral because the bank screwed you” ploy; you’ll scare off some number of viable prospects. If you’re really creative and your customer base is really gullible, you might try some version of Freedom Club USA ’s “everybody wins” theme.

- Save yourself some time and just replicate one of the UCC strawman packages – the stuff about the ALL CAPS name. (Don’t worry about copyright issues; those will be the least of your problems.)

- Toss in something about why attorneys can’t be trusted because they and the Judges are all part of the BAR.

- If you’ve got the time, resources and verbal delivery skills, have weekly one-way conference calls where you can sell by expounding on the wonders of the plan and the progress being made. It’s a long-distance call for them, so keep it short and sweet.

- If you’re really slick and fast on your feet, “open” the above-referenced call up to questions but be sure you’ve authored them and they’re presented by trusted parties. Try to use people who can ask them without sounding like they’re reading.

- You will need to make up a number of anecdotal and impossible to disprove testimonials from allegedly satisfied, debt-free customers. Don’t make them extravagant but don’t worry about misrepresentations; the FTC would have to have thousands of complaints about you to even look at your website.

- If you really want to have credibility with the furthest fringes of the gullible, mention things about Admiralty and the gold fringed flag (no pun intended).

- If you’re going to use it in your process, at least try to be original with the words you put in front of “Administrative Remedy.” Private and international have been overused and putting in the Admiralty after it has lost a lot of allure.

- Use an invisible hit-counter for your own information but put up your own self-set numerical display to show huge and growing numbers of visitors.

- Now, if you’re really trying to tap into the truly zany realms, you’ll have to put in some links to the other-worldly kinds of nonsense.

- If you’re into the MLM thing and can lead others into it, you might be able to put together a network marketing scheme to get other people to sell for you. At least with this angle, you can get some initial revenue for setting up a web site for each of your marketers and their down-lines.

- Don’t get greedy; this is a business that lasts between a few months and maybe three years if you’re really slick and careful. Better to take the money and disappear than to wait too long and lose it all.

- Finally, get ready to do battle on Internet forums to promote your program, trash your competitors and demean web sites like Quatloos.com and Scam.com. You’ll need to be able to pose as completely different posters; some people, including moderators, can smoke out shills and spammers who don’t know how to conceal their writing style. You need to be creative in broaching the subject on a forum for the first time. Most rookies come off looking really lame with the “Has anyone heard anything about the XYZ program?” kind of thing. Having multiple IP addresses is critical for this part of the business. You may want to revive that old dial-up thingy and sign up with a couple of low-cost ISP’s. Anonymizers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and some sites won’t let you post if you’re using proxy servers.

Which brings me to the Internet playground known as suijuris, more specifically, the forum. This is a two-edged sword but you’re probably going to have to deal with it. “The Law Research Group” maintains the web forum and many of the visitors are among your target demographic, but many are also more than willing to share snippets and advice that will conflict with your sales opportunities or steer prospects away from paying for your program. A few visitors will be people who are in the middle of a financial death spiral who get all kinds of goofy advice and wind up bemoaning the corruption of the courts and attorneys when what they were doing was tossed out of court for perfectly legitimate reasons they will refuse to understand.

But the suijuris forum can be highly instructional in developing your version of the scheme. Some posters will unintentionally reveal flaws in some process and other visitors will chime in and explain what they did wrong.

There you go! Have fun boys and girls! (Can’t wait to see your new-fangled super-duper hottest-thing-since whatever process show up on Google.)

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wesley and Willie

It’s that time of year again, and the scammers are poised to sell their tax nonsense to another batch of offended and angry taxpayers and non-payers.

Despite the serious risks associated with demonstrating contempt for the tax laws, and the fact that the promoters who sell the alleged “secrets” are routinely convicted and imprisoned, some people will simply refuse to accept reality. Then when confronted with it, they’ll attempt to pose themselves in the light of being a victim of a scam.

But a now-famous cite from a Federal case appellate ruling pretty much says it all:

Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest. ” Coleman v. CIR, 791 F2d 68, 69 (7CA 1986)

Note the date of the ruling – 1986. Over twenty years ago, Judge Easterbrook, writing for the 7th Circuit court of appeals, tossed Norman Coleman’s appeal of his frivolous tax-protest case, yet more and more disgruntled people seem to find their way to some Internet site and hang on to yet another shop-worn batch of nonsense.

The distribution of a politically-whacko propaganda movie only has served to stir interest among people who may have been nothing more than annoyed or mildly curious. Thus, the “show me the law” movement seems to have gained ground during 2007, and for some of those who want to believe in preposterous things that coincide with their self-interest, they may not look much beyond the fa├žade of the web sites, books and the movie.

I’m guessing the Wesley Snipes case will finally attract the attention of the major media outlets to the ridiculousness of the kind of tax scam Eddie Kahn has apparently gotten him into. Unlike the widely-reported stories of Willie Nelson’s tax sheltering maneuvers that resulted in the auctioning of, among other things, his fishing camp, Snipes fell in with lunatic fringe tax protestors and apparently isn’t willing to deal with reality. Trial is set for this month.

Maybe Hollywood will get the writer’s strike over in time to spin up a plot line that Willie and Wesley can star in - one about the costs of falling for really bad advice.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean