Utah Man Indicted in Fraudulent Lien Scheme

Indictment Unsealed Charging Ogden Man Who Filed Liens Against State, County, and City Agencies, Judges, and Police Officers
Lien Scheme Involved Amounts Totaling Trillions of Dollars

SALT LAKE CITY—An indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court in Salt Lake City charges Harvey Douglas Goff, age 53, of Ogden, with violations of federal law in connection with alleged schemes to obstruct justice, impede internal revenue laws, pass fictitious documents purporting to be actual financial instruments, assert diplomatic immunity, and defraud others through the use of a fraudulent lien scheme.

Goff was arrested Thursday morning in Ogden. He had an initial appearance Thursday before Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba. Goff refused to stand when ordered to, which led to U.S. Marshal intervention; refused the appointment of counsel; would not state his name or acknowledge his identity; and claimed he had been kidnapped from his home even though the court made findings in his presence that federal agents had served a duly authorized search warrant. A mental health evaluation was ordered. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and IRS Criminal Investigation.

The 14-count indictment charges Goff with obstruction of justice, impeding internal revenue laws, fictitious obligations, attempt to commit mail fraud, and mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud.

Ten counts of the indictment, which allege attempted mail fraud or mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud, relate to conduct that started with traffic stops in Ogden and continued through subsequent court proceedings in Weber County related to the traffic stops. Goff claimed diplomatic immunity during one of the traffic stops and challenged the jurisdiction of the state court judge, the indictment alleges. Goff, who represented himself in the proceedings, filed several pleadings in his state felony prosecution. His requests were denied by the court and he was bound over for trial. In December 2010, Goff failed to appear for a pretrial conference and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

The indictment alleges that in November 2010, Goff mailed documents to the attention of various employees or entities of the State of Utah, Weber County, Ogden City, and the Ogden Police Department entitled “Notice of International Commercial Claim Within the Admiralty ab initio Administrative Remedy of Harvey Douglas Goff, Jr., Creditor Secured Party.” The documents claimed the agencies contracted to pay more than $53 trillion in damages to Goff. The documents purported to be part of a “self-help administrative process” and asserted that the recipients had 10 days to respond before a “default” resulted.

In an apparent effort to create an appearance of indebtedness, Goff followed up by filing a lien against various employees and entities of the State of Utah, Weber County, Ogden City, and the Ogden Police Department falsely asserting that the employees and entities each owed Goff, jointly and severally, more than $53 trillion. The lien was filed on 77 parcels located within Weber County, including municipal property and private residences associated with the employees and entities.

The indictment also charges Goff with obstructing justice in an effort to impede a matter in the U.S. Tax Court by repeatedly filing false and frivolous documents involving the judge in an IRS case and impeding internal revenue laws. Two counts of the indictment also allege Goff passed fictitious documents to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The potential penalty for each count of obstruction of justice, attempt to commit mail fraud, and mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud is up to 20 years in federal prison. The two fictitious obligation counts each carry potential penalties of up to 25 years. The penalty for impeding internal revenue laws is up to three years in prison. The potential fine for each count of the indictment is $250,000.

Indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

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