The government has sued a former Alaska man for filing bogus financial documents seeking nearly $1 billion against Social Security Administration employees.
Trapper Killsmany, formerly of Manley Hot Springs, filed liens at the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Recorder's Office in February and March. The February filing claimed two state agencies and seven federal employees owed him an undetermined amount of debt, and as such he was entitled to all their assets. The most recent lien went a step further, stating he is owed $950 million.
Trapper Killsmany is his legal name. He changed it from David Goldsmith in 2003.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Wilson wrote in a complaint against Killsmany that the targeted individuals have no debt or "other obligation, of any nature," owed to the defendant. The documents were filed to slander the credit of the federal employees, according to the complaint.
"Killsmany has undertaken a course of conduct whereby he has filed false and fraudulent financing documents with the state ... designed to harass, intimidate, annoy, punish and retaliate against officers and employees who become involved in the determination of his eligibility for Social Security," the complaint says.
Killsmany receives Social Security benefits at a West Virginia address, according to the complaint.
The state is not in the business of interpreting the legality of the liens. Generally, anyone can file the public documents for a paltry charge of $20, said Wilson. He said the debtor can dispute the claim with a separate filing, but both opposing documents remain.
The problem with the fraudulent liens is that they can tarnish credit. Additionally, fixing the problem is costly and time consuming. The FBI says people submitting false liens and other legal documents lacking sound factual bases commit "paper terrorism."
Wilson said this is the first such case in Alaska. He worked as an attorney in Florida for 20 years and handled similar cases, and the court was able to stop the defendants from financially harassing people.
That's the aim with the civil suit against Killsmany. The government hopes the court will declare his filings invalid, as well as bar him from filing in the future. Wilson said the government does not intend to prevent the defendant from filing valid liens, but a state court will determine whether he's allowed. That's if the civil case rules against the former Alaskan.
Killsmany's case came about when the Social Security Administration contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office. Wilson said his understanding is that Killsmany became upset when the administration denied some of his benefits.
"They contacted us saying the employees were concerned about their credit and asking if there was anything the office could do to help," Wilson said, adding there may be a pursuable criminal charge, though a civil suit is the most effective course of action.
Killsmany has had run-ins with Alaska law enforcement before, but as he sees it, he's fighting the true criminals. He posts frequently on his Facebook page about the trampling of constitutional rights and the corporatization of America.
He also argues in posts that the filing of liens is a legal means of recourse for the state's harassment against him and to seek reparations for physical and mental anguish.
On a separate Facebook group called "Truth for Trapper Killsmany," he describes a March 2010 incident during which an employee at the state's Medicaid office went into "panic mode" and reported him to police as "a survivalist type" and a "potentially violent person" attempting to build a compound.
He said he was filing a change of address with the office, trying to retrieve belongings that had been stolen. Killsmany left the state permanently after an assault conviction stemming from allegations that he had pointed a shotgun in the face of an Alaska State Trooper.
He was charged in August 2012 with attempted first-degree murder. Troopers went to his home to serve an arrest warrant after he'd violated a restraining order that barred him from contacting his daughter and son-in-law. The charges alleged the troopers were quickly met by Killsmany and his shotgun at the door.
Troopers say they pulled the shotgun away and subdued Killsmany, who counters that he never brandished the firearm at the officers.
"I was falsely accused of things I did not do all because they are scared of how I look, my name, and where I live," Killsmany wrote. He said he was illegally arrested, held for 10 weeks and tortured. He said he was forced under "extreme duress" to take a plea deal.
Online court records indicate Killsmany was convicted of a third-degree assault charge. The state dropped three additional charges, including attempted murder.
Killsmany filed liens against numerous individuals involved in the alleged home invasion -- troopers, Alaska Court System employees and the Fairbanks Correctional Center. He also filed a lien against an Alaska Native News reporter, which was accepted.
The vocal online poster never refers to himself as a sovereign citizen, but much of his writings fall in line with the national movement that believes the government's laws do not apply to its members. Many don't have driver's licenses or pay taxes.
And filing liens is a common tactic used by sovereign citizens to thwart the government. James Timothy Turner, the former president of the Republic for the United States of America, is serving an 18-year sentence for a 2013 conviction related to seminars he held teaching people, who paid, how to file liens.
Some of Killsmany's liens were not accepted by the recorder's office. He posted one of seven notices from the state declaring his liens invalid.