Knoxville man claiming sovereign citizen ideology found guilty of fraud, laundering
After an eight-day trial, a jury found Randall Keith Beane, 50, of Knoxville, and Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf, 45, of Pierce County, Washington, guilty of a conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to US Attorney J. Douglas Overbey's office, the jury also found Beane guilty of six counts of wire and bank fraud.
Sentencing was set for Beane on June 12, 2018, and for Tucci-Jarraf on June 26, 2018, in US District Court. Tucci-Jarraf will face a sentence of up to 20 years, while Beane faces up to 30 years on his charges. Prosecutors said parole would not be an option in the federal system.
According to the US Attorney's office, evidence presented at trial showed that Tucci-Jarraf acted as an unlicensed attorney for Beane in a scheme to defraud the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Bank of more than $31 million.
Court filings contained Tucci-Jarraf and Beane's claims that the government was foreclosed upon and has no jurisdiction over them. In trial, the defendants said that the United States hides individuals' secret accounts in the Federal Reserve Bank, which is a common ideology among sovereign citizens' groups.
The US Attorney's office said Tucci-Jarraf was a former prosecutor in Pierce County, Washington.
"When wrongdoers attempt to stand behind an anti-government movement to hide or justify fraudulent criminal activity, they will fail. This jury sent the message that the American judicial system will not shield them, and these two defendants now know they will be punished, whether or not they acknowledge the authority of the Court to do so," U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey said.
The United States also forfeited a motor home worth more than $500,000 that Beane purchased with the proceeds of the bank and wire fraud conspiracies. USAA Bank's losses totaled more than $550,000 in the case.
Beane was arrested by FBI agents in July 2017 as he attempted to flee in a $500,000 motor coach that was purchased with the stolen funds. Prosecutors said he resisted arrest and fought the agents during the incident. Tucci-Jarraf was arrested in Washington, D.C., after prosecutors said she attempted to meet with President Trump at the White House.
“Americans are free to believe as they choose about their government,” said Renae McDermott, special agent in charge of the FBI Knoxville Field Office. “When those beliefs turn into criminal actions, law enforcement must act.”