HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. -- A Haywood County, North Carolina, woman and man will serve time in federal prison for crimes committed through an anti-government website that urged its readers to make citizen arrests of officials based on bogus court documents that they created, officials said Friday.
Timothy Michael Dever, 57, of Naperville, Illinois and his co-defendant, Darris Gibson Moody, 57, of Waynesville were sentenced late Thursday in federal court in Asheville.
Both had previously pleaded guilty to charges: Dever, to five counts of aiding and abetting interstate threatening communication; Moody, to making an interstate threatening communication.
Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, and U.S. Attorney Dena J. King released detailed information and documents about the case and how the two worked together.
"Dever's anti-government rhetoric and fake arrest writs were more than a nuisance. They put hundreds of lives at risk," King said. "Those who shared Dever's warped ideology, including Moody, became self-proclaimed bounty hunters that turned innocent victims into targets of harassment, intimidation, and death threats. But, unlike Dever and Moody's sham court proceedings, my office has legitimate authority to hold these defendants accountable for their actions."
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, Dever was the founder, creator, and administrator of a website for a fictitious entity, the "People's Bureau of Investigation" (PBI).
As the website's administrator, Dever hosted, maintained, and provided content for PBI, including templates for court judgments, or "Writs of Execution," issued by the "U.S. Environmental District Court," a fictitious court that purportedly had convicted hundreds of public officials and private individuals of various bogus crimes. The website claimed that the writs gave private citizens, like Moody, the authority to conduct a "citizen's arrest" of the individuals on the fake writs. The website also claimed that those arrested could face a punishment of monetary fines, imprisonment, and even death and that anyone who made a "citizen's arrest" of the persons named in the writs was eligible to receive a monetary reward of up to $20,000.
According to court documents and the sentencing hearing, Dever promoted the writs as a mechanism for removing federal, state, and local officials from their positions. Dever made the template for the fake writs available for download on PBI's website, as well as other documents and videos that explained the purpose of the writs and how to serve them.
For example, one video on the website was a recorded radio talk show, where Dever and another individual discussed how private citizens could arrest "a sheriff, a judge and a governor," who they claimed to have been convicted in the "highest court of the land."
Dever also maintained on PBI's website a list that contained the names, home addresses, and personal information of victims who had been falsely named as convicted defendants in the fake writs.
Court records show that the PBI website listed the personal identifying information of over 900 victims located in approximately 32 different states.
Dever admitted in court that PBI's website also enabled group members to use a digital app to have encrypted communications in online chatrooms and via text messages and to share information on how to create, use, and serve the writs.
Dever also used PBI's website to raise funds by soliciting direct donations and selling PBI merchandise.
Moody was a like-minded PBI group member who accused her targets of having been convicted of corruption, environmental charges, and even treason.
Moody used the PBI website to generate fake arrest writs for 57 individuals, most of whom resided in the Western District of North Carolina, including sheriffs, judges, and other government officials and private individuals and used software to fax the fake arrest notices to the recipients.
"At its core, the FBI's mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States," DeWitt said. "While we celebrate the freedoms of our country, you cannot make up your own laws and threaten those who serve or are elected by our democracy."
Dever was sentenced late Thursday in federal court in Asheville to 10 years in prison for aiding and abetting threatening interstate communications, attorneys for the Western District of North Carolina said.
Dever was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision after he is released from prison.
Moody was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for making a threatening interstate communication.
They are currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
U.S. Attorney King commended the FBI for their investigation of this case and thanked the Haywood County Sheriff's Office for their assistance.
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