Four people, including one with alleged ties to the anti-government freemen in Montana, have been indicted on charges they took part in a $30 million conspiracy to defraud banks, businesses and government agencies.
Charles Miller, 46, of Vancouver; Charles Christenson, 41, and Kurt Gilson, 29, both of Bellevue, and Veryl Knowles, 61, of Spokane, were named in a 16-count indictment, the U.S. attorney’s office said Friday.
They are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. They are also charged with mail and bank fraud.
The indictment alleges that between March and December of 1995, the defendants used worthless documents called “certified bankers check,” “certified banker’s note” and “certified money assignment draft” to defraud various businesses and individuals in exchange for money, property and other assets.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Blackstone said the defendants tried to pass $30 million of the fraudulent checks, including some he said came from the freeman compound in Jordan, Mont.
Miller has ties to the freemen, authorities said.
Not all the checks were honored, but the defendants managed to buy two luxury vehicles and a motor home, federal prosecutors said.
They also obtained cash advances from credit cards and paid off bills with the fraudulent checks, the indictment alleges.
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