TENINO MAN INDICTED FOR HIDING A FUGITIVE AND LYING TO INVESTIGATORS
Member of the “Patriot Movement” Assists Felon Wanted in North Carolina
A member of the “Patriot Movement” (or “Sovereign Citizen Movement”) who claims that the federal government has no authority over him, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Concealing a Person from Arrest and Making a False Statement. TODD GEHMAN HOWARD, 47, will be arraigned on the charges at 2:30 this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Tacoma, Washington. HOWARD has been in federal custody since Friday, when the first attempt to arraign him on the charges failed because HOWARD repeatedly interrupted Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold.
According to records filed in the case, HOWARD was first interviewed in his Tenino, Washington, home in September 2008, about the whereabouts of a federal fugitive, Lewis Vincent Hughes. In an earlier case in this District, Hughes was convicted in 2004 of Forcibly Resisting and Impeding Federal Agents in the Performance of Their Duties. More recently, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force were trying to locate Hughes on a warrant from a federal court in North Carolina for Mail Fraud and Bank Fraud. Hughes had sent the federal court in North Carolina correspondence listing HOWARD’s return address. When HOWARD was interviewed he claimed Hughes had moved out of his home, and that he did not know where he was. HOWARD was told that a warrant had been issued for Hughes’ arrest. Less than two weeks later, HOWARD arrived at a Bellevue storage facility driving a truck, with Hughes as his passenger. Fugitive task force agents moved in and arrested Hughes. In a brief interview at the scene HOWARD claimed he did not know that Hughes was wanted by law enforcement.
Following Hughes’ arrest, agents observed his car at HOWARD’s Tenino home. In February 2009, HOWARD was interviewed at the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. In the interview HOWARD claimed that since he did not physically see the warrant agents had told him about in September 2008, he did not really know that Hughes was wanted. He admitted that, after he was told Hughes was wanted, he allowed him to stay at his home. HOWARD discussed with the officers that he had been associated with the “Patriot Movement” and that he believes that the federal government has no power over him. HOWARD has responded to traffic citations with “Sovereign Citizen” mailings.
Concealing a Person from Arrest and Making a False Statement are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.