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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 13, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FIVE MEN INDICTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO USE

FAKE DIPLOMATIC IDENTIFICATION


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that five men with connections to the sovereign citizen movement have been indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a conspiracy to use fraudulent diplomatic credentials.


            David L. Robinson, 65, of Lawrence, Kan., Daniel W. Denham, 49, of Kingsville, Mo., Larry P. Goodyke, 51, of Henderson, Nev., Blake W. Bestol, 47, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and John D. Conrey, 43, of Foristell, Mo., were charged in an 18-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Aug. 6, 2008. That indictment was unsealed and made public following initial court appearances by Robinson and Denham on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008.


            The co-defendants are involved in various sovereign citizen groups that reject governmental authority and claim that most branches of the federal government are illegitimate entities.


            The federal indictment alleges that the co-defendants participated in a conspiracy to use, as well as to buy and sell, fraudulent diplomatic identification cards beginning sometime prior to July 11, 2006, until Oct. 18, 2007. The three-by-four-inch laminated cards, which identified the bearer as an “Ambassador,” contained a photograph of the bearer of the card, the seal of the U.S. Department of State and the words “Diplomatic Identification.”


            Customers allegedly paid from $450 to $1,500 to receive a diplomatic identification card. According to the indictment, the defendants told their customers that the benefits of obtaining the card included not having to pay taxes and immunity from being stopped, detained, or arrested by law enforcement personnel.


            Robinson and Denham were the original leaders of the group, the indictment says. Robinson’s role in the conspiracy allegedly consisted of explaining the process to individuals who were interested in obtaining a fraudulent diplomatic identification card, then obtaining for the individual an apostille. An apostille is a document, issued by a state government, certifying that an underlying document has been signed by a notary public. The apostille was needed for the individual’s Act of State – a one-page, single-spaced document through which the defendants and their customers purported to renounce their citizenship of the United States. The defendants allegedly claimed that an Act of State was required before the individual could receive an identification card.


            According to the indictment, the defendants falsely told their customers that the return of an apostille on a notarized document made it legally binding, and provided proof that the state reviewed and found legitimate the individual’s claim of status as a sovereign citizen, thus providing him with diplomatic immunity. In reality, an apostille in no way legitimizes, or legalizes, the contents of a document, but simply certifies the legitimacy of a notary stamp on a document. By issuing an apostille, the state is certifying that the submitted document (the Act of State) was notarized and stamped by a licensed notary. The apostille number was then used on the fraudulent identification cards.


            Denham referred customers to Robinson in order to acquire an apostille, the indictment says, then Robinson referred customers to Denham to order their identification cards.


            Goodyke and Bestol were customers of Robinson and Denham who ordered fraudulent identification cards from them, according to the indictment. Goodyke and Bestol allegedly became involved in the conspiracy by modifying, improving, and revising the cards. Goodyke also sold and transferred numerous cards to others, the indictment says.


            Conrey allegedly received a fraudulent identification card from Denham through Bestol, and subsequently became involved in the conspiracy. Conrey presented the fraudulent cards at airports and to law enforcement personnel, the indictment says, then reported the results of this field testing to Bestol, who developed modifications to the identification cards to increase their effectiveness. Bestol forwarded these modifications to Goodyke and Denham, who incorporated them into future versions of the diplomatic identification cards, according to the indictment.


            In addition to the conspiracy charge, each defendant is charged with multiple counts of transferring to others fraudulent diplomatic credentials bearing the seal of the U.S. Department of State. Robinson is also charged with an additional count of wrongfully using a government seal or instrument for displaying one of the fraudulent diplomatic identification cards to a Kansas City, Mo., police officer when he was stopped on Sept. 20, 2007.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexander Menzel, Jr. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html