Redemption movement

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The redemption movement is a pseudolegal conspiracy theory and fraud scheme[1] that can be best described as sovereign citizen quackery meets gold standard quackery.


The notion originated in the US with white supremacist Roger Elvick, who pushed it through the 1980s and early 1990s.

The central tenets[edit]

The conspiracy holds that the gold standard was not replaced with fiat currency, but instead replaced with a bizarre system in which each citizen (as opposed to a national, who are supposedly the actual people that exist) is actually a legal fiction held as a collateral worth the oddly specific amount of $630,000; this is then somehow used to give money its value. The exact date at which this system was supposedly established varies from crank to crank; some hold that it occurred when the US government abandoned the gold standard in 1933, but others establish this date to have been in 1913 with the formation of the Federal Reserve.

How does it (not) work?[edit]

Elvick believed that the government deposits exactly $630,000 into a hidden bank account linked to the newborn American and administered by a Jewish cabal. (Spooky, isn't it?)

Its promoters claim that should the correct magical legal maneuvers and incantations be performed, it is possible to redeem (hence the name of the movement) the $630,000 held in the name of the doppelgänger persona, and that after filing the correct paperwork at the courthouse declaring oneself a sovereign citizen, one's home loans and other debts can be paid in full by tendering a "sight draft" or "bill of exchange" in the name of the U.S. Treasury.

Results of actually trying to apply this in a court of law[edit]

As with all pseudolaw, attempting to put any of this into practice will assure that the user will have a bad time. At the very best, a claimant can be fined for attempting to produce this conspiracy's arguments for, quite frankly, wasting the Internal Revenue Service's time[2]; at worst, pushers of this quackery can be convicted of fraud.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


While it has since largely died since Roger Elvick was convicted of criminal conspiracy and (shockingly) tax evasion, the basic tenets of the movement lived on to plague the virtuous. Since then, it has spawned several similar "Nuh-uh, the government can't control me and taxation is theft" groups. The only two groups that gained any traction are the freeman on the land movement (which claims that similar birth bonds exist in Canada, the UK and Australia and that citizenship is just legal fiction) and the sovereign citizen movement (which ditches any pretense of being about anything that isn't paying taxes).


  1. "Common Fraud Schemes". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  2. 26 U.S. Code § 6702 - Frivolous tax submissions. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from
  3. United States v. Anderson, 353 F.3d 490 (6th Cir. 2003), at [1].
  4. United States v. Dykstra, 991 F.2d 450 (8th Cir. 1993), at [2].
  5. United States v. Hildebrandt, 961 F.2d 116 (8th Cir. 1992), at [3].
  6. United States v. Rosnow, 9 F.3d 728 (8th Cir. 1993), at [4].
  7. United States v. Salman, 531 F.3d 1007 (9th Cir. 2008), at [5].
  8. United States v. Wiley, 979 F.2d 365 (5th Cir. 1992), at [6].