Date: Mon, 9 May 2016
A federal grand jury has returned a new indictment against Hillsboro
resident Winston Shrout, accusing him of defrauding U.S. financial
institutions by issuing bogus documents and failing to file six years of
income tax returns.
The grand jury returned an indictment charging Shrout with 13 counts of
making, presenting and transmitting fictitious financial instruments and
six counts of willfully failing to file income tax returns.
He’s accused of making and issuing more than 300 fake “International
Bills of Exchange” on his own behalf and for credit to third parties.
The government contends Shrout falsely claimed the bills had value and
purported them to be worth more than $100 trillion.
The indictment also alleges Shrout promoted and marketed the fake
financial documents to pay off debts.
He’s also accused of failing to file income tax returns from 2009
through 2014 after receiving income for presentations at seminars and
licensing fees for the sale of DVD recordings and private client
consultations through his business Winston Shrout Solutions in Commerce.
By 2014, Shrout received gross income of more than $21,500, according to
“Winston Shrout is one of the biggest sovereign citizen gurus of the
last decade. This is a big deal, ” said Mark Pitcavage, senior research
fellow with Anti-Defamation League center on extremism, in Ohio.
Anti-government sovereign citizens claim that paper money is
unconstitutional, with gold and silver the only lawful forms of
currency, so they find it easy to rationalize creating their own forms
of paper money, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
“This is a very longstanding tactic in the sovereign citizen movement,”
Pitcavage said. “They love to use bogus financial instruments. Some use
bogus checks. Some look like money orders. They use these to pay off the
IRS or other debtors.”
Shrout was previously indicted in December on charges of failure to file
tax returns. On that indictment, he told the court in February that he
didn’t want to be represented by a court-appointed attorney, and a judge
allowed him to represent himself but named an assistant federal public
defender to advise him. The court entered a not guilty plea on his
behalf, according to court records.
Shrout was scheduled to return to court on this new indictment March 31.
If convicted, Shrout faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison on
each count of making, presenting and transmitting fake financial
documents and one year for each count of failure to file income tax returns.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Carolline D. Ciraolo of the U.S.
Justice Department’s Tax Division announced the new indictment in a
— Maxine Bernstein