The founder and creator of an anti-government website was sentenced late yesterday in federal court in Asheville to 10 years in prison, for aiding and abetting threatening interstate communications, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, Timothy Michael Dever, 57, of Naperville, Illinois, was ordered to serve three years under court supervision after he is released from prison. Dever’s co-defendant, Darris Gibson Moody, 57, of Waynesville, N.C., was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for making a threatening interstate communication.
Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, joins U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, Dever was the 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.
As Dever previously admitted in court, 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.
“Dever’s anti-government rhetoric and fake arrest writs were more than a nuisance. They put hundreds of lives at risk,” said Dena J. King, United States Attorney. “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.”
“At its core, the FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. 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,” said Special Agent in Charge DeWitt.
Dever pleaded guilty to five counts of aiding and abetting interstate threatening communication. Moody pleaded guilty to making an interstate threating 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.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended the FBI for their investigation of this case and thanked the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.