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Thoughtfully crafted ruling on a guy who tried everything

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  • Barry
    RAYMOND WINTSON McLAUGHLIN and Shakir Ra-Ade Bey, Plaintiffs, v. CITIMORTGAGE, INC., Defendant. No. 3:09CV1762 (MRK), United States District Court, D.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2010
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      RAYMOND WINTSON McLAUGHLIN and Shakir Ra-Ade Bey, Plaintiffs,
      v.
      CITIMORTGAGE, INC., Defendant.

      No. 3:09CV1762 (MRK),

      United States District Court, D. Connecticut.

      June 11, 2010.

      MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

      MARK R. KRAVITZ, District Judge.

      Defendant, CitiMortgage, Inc. ("CitiMortgage") has filed a Motion to Dismiss [doc. # 74] this case in its entirety. For the following reasons, the motion is granted. However, in light of Plaintiff's pro se status, he will be granted one last opportunity to amend his complaint to state a viable claim for relief — though the Court grants this opportunity with reluctance and some important caveats, discussed at the end of this opinion.

      I. Introduction & Procedural History

      The pro se Plaintiff has identified himself as Shakir Ra Ade Bey, a "Grand Sheik" and "Divine Public Minister" in the Moorish Holy Temple of Science of the World. See Pl.'s Judicial Notice/Declaration of Status [doc. # 63]. According to Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit, "It is a tenet of Moorish Science that any adherent may adopt any title, and issue any documents, he pleases." United States v. James, 328 F.3d 953, 954 (7th Cir. 2003).

      Mr. Ade Bey initiated this lawsuit on October 30, 2009 with the filing of a complaint against CitiMortgage; its CEO, Mr. Sanjiv Das; and three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Inc.; Trans Union, LLC; and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. See Compl. [doc. # 1]. The original Complaint was, to put it mildly, confusing, not least of which because it was brought on behalf of one RAYMOND WINTSON MCLAUGHLIN (always presented in all capital letters), but was signed by "Shakir Ra-Ade:Bey, Sui Juris, Attorney in Fact." Id. Among other things, the Complaint alleged that Plaintiff and one Nicole McLaughlin signed "an alleged mortgage agreement" worth $233,731 with Residential Finance Corporation ("Residential") for real estate located at 36 Heather Drive in East Hartford, Connecticut. Id. ¶ 12. "From said transaction," the Complaint continued, "Residential then . . . through coerce [and] fraud," "fraudulently converted" the signed "Draft" into a "[promissory] [n]ote." Id. ¶ 13. The original Complaint said that Residential then sold the Note "without the consent and authority of the Plaintiff" to Defendant CitiMortgage. Id. ¶ 14. The Complaint asserted that, as a result of Residential selling the Note, "the now demanded balance . . . of [the] alleged mortgage was paid in full," and that "no lawful debt now exists according to the principles of accounting." Id. ¶¶ 15-16.

      According to the Complaint, Plaintiff and co-signatory Nicole McLaughlin received a statement from CitiMortgage indicating that it now held the mortgage, and that the first payment was due on May 1, 2009. See id. ¶ 17. That same day, Plaintiff reportedly sent Mr. Sanjiv Das, CEO of CitiMortgage, a "Request for Accounting"; the Complaint alleged that the same request was sent to CitiMortgage on July 27, 2009. See id. ¶¶ 18-20. The "Request for Accounting" purported to give CitiMortgage fourteen days to produce the contract signed by Plaintiff and Nicole McLaughlin. See id. When CitiMortgage did not respond, Plaintiff and Nicole McLaughlin purported to "revoke[], cancel[], and rescind[]" the Note by publicly recording it on the East Haven, Connecticut land records. See id. ¶ 22.

      On or about September 1, 2009, Plaintiff and Nicole McLaughlin received notice that CitiMortgage had reported the mortgage delinquent, which Plaintiff alleges was defamatory. See id. ¶ 23. On or about September 10, 2009, the credit reporting agencies received an affidavit from Plaintiff stating that "there were no CONTRACT with CITIMORTGAGE and or its agent(s) and that the information contained in the credit report was false and devastatingly injurious." Id. ¶ 24. Equifax did not respond, id. ¶ 29, and Experian's credit report continued to reflect the delinquency, id. ¶ 28. Trans Union conducted an investigation and concluded that the mortgage was indeed delinquent. See id. ¶ 27.

      The Complaint alleged that the aforementioned facts constituted, inter alia, a RICO conspiracy and defamation, see id., and sought $100 million in money damages for the emotional and psychological injuries caused to Plaintiff and Nicole McLaughlin; the elimination of all negative information in credit reports; the release of all liens on the property and the conveyance of clear legal title to Shakir Ra Ade Bey; an order that CitiMortgage produce the Note; an order that CitiMortgage "cease and desist forever its efforts to take from the Plaintiff and Nicole McLaughlin, regarding this matter, whatsoever"; a declaration that CitiMortgage's conduct was "wrong"; and a declaration that "the conversion of a Promissory note to a cash instrument is a violation of the National Currency Act of 1863/4." Id. at 5-6 ¶¶ 1-10. Interestingly, the Complaint also stated that:

      All Claims are stated in US Dollars which means that a US Dollar will be defined, as a One Ounce Silver coin of 99.999% pure silver, or the equivalent par value as established by law or the exchange rate as set by the US Mint, whichever is the higher amount, for a certified One Ounce Silver Coin (US Silver Dollar). If the claim is to be paid in Federal Reserve Notes, Federal Reserve notes will only be accepted at Par Value as indicated above.

      Id. ¶ 12.

      Shortly after this case was filed, all of the Defendants save CitiMortgage filed motions to dismiss. See Def. Das' Mot. to Dismiss [doc. # 32]; Defs. Experian & Equifax's Joint Mot. for J. on the Pleadings [doc. # 48]; Def. Trans Union's Mot. for J. on the Pleadings [doc. # 50]. CitiMortgage, for its part, asserted a counterclaim against "Raymond McLaughlin" and Nicole McLaughlin, alleging a breach of contract and requesting a strict foreclosure of the mortgage as to 36 Heather Drive (hereinafter, "the real estate"). See CitiMortgage's Answer and Counterclaim [doc. # 39] at 10-13. Plaintiff then moved to dismiss the lis pendens that CitiMortgage had placed on the real estate. See Pl.'s Mot. to Dismiss Notice of Lis Pendens [doc. # 43].

      In an effort to better understand Plaintiff's identity and allegations, and to resolve the outstanding motions, the Court held an in-court status conference on February 12, 2010, for which Mr. Ade Bey and counsel for Defendants appeared. During the status conference, Mr. Ade Bey clarified that prior to a religious conversion to the Moorish Holy Temple of Science of the World, he was generally referred to as "Raymond McLaughlin." He further explained, both in court and in numerous filings, that through his religious conversion, he knows that the name "Raymond McLaughlin" was but a "legal fiction" and/or a "transmitting utility" (although the Court is unclear as to what was being transmitted). Plaintiff now uses his "aboriginal and indigenous free descent appellation" — Shakir Ra Ade Bey — but also purports to represent the interests of the all-capital letter "RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN." In fact, according to the Plaintiff, RAYMOND WINTSON MCLAUGHLIN has granted to Mr. Ade Bey a power of attorney "to conduct all tax, business, and legal affairs," see Pl.'s Judicial Notice/Declaration of Status [doc. # 63] Power of Attorney at 1; as well as a security interest in "all . . . interests now owned or hereafter acquired," see id. UCC Financing Statement.[1] Both the Power of Attorney (which is dated April 20, 2009) and the UCC Financing Statement (which is undated) were apparently recorded on the East Haven land records. See id.

      During the status conference, the Court explained to Mr. Ade Bey that it lacked jurisdiction to discharge the lis pendens on the real estate, and that any such petition would have to be filed in Connecticut Superior Court. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 49-13(a) and 52-325a. Accordingly, Mr. Ade Bey's Motion to Dismiss Notice of Lis Pendens [doc. # 43] was denied, but without prejudice to him bringing an appropriate action in state court or to renewal in this court if he could establish a jurisdictional basis. See Order dated Feb. 16, 2010 [doc. # 57] at 1. The Court also granted Mr. Ade Bey's request to amend his complaint. See id.

      Shortly after the in-court status conference, Mr. Ade Bey agreed to dismiss the claims against all of Defendants except CitiMortgage. See Pl.'s Resp. [doc. # 61]; Order dated Feb. 18, 2010 [doc. # 62]. On February 19, 2010, Mr. Ade Bey filed the Civil RICO Case Statement required by the District of Connecticut's Standing Order in Civil RICO Cases. See Pl.'s RICO Case Statement [doc. # 65]. On February 24, 2010, Mr. Ade Bey filed his Amended Complaint [doc. # 67-1], which the Court will discuss in a moment. At the same time, Mr. Ade Bey filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaim for Foreclosure [doc. # 67], asserting that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to entertain CitiMortgage's counterclaim. In support, Plaintiff argued that the signature on the promissory note on which the counterclaim is premised is counterfeit. See id.; Pl.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Counterclaim [doc. # 68]. CitiMortgage then moved under Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to join Nicole McLaughlin as an involuntary counterclaim defendant, on the grounds that she had signed both the promissory note and the mortgage. See Def.'s Mot. to Join [doc. # 70]. Plaintiff opposed this motion as well, arguing once more that any signatures were counterfeit and that Nicole McLaughlin has no interest in this litigation. See Pl.'s Mem. in Opp'n to Mot. to Join [doc. # 85]. In support of the latter contention, Plaintiff submitted a "Warranty Deed" dated January 3, 2010, which stated that:

      RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN and NICOLE MCLAUGHLIN of the Town of East Hartford, County of Hartford, and State of Connecticut (hereinafter referred to as "Grantors") for the consideration of TWENTY ONE DOLLARS ($21.00) in Minted United States Silver Coins received to their full satisfaction of Shakir Ra Ade Bey of Podunk, Quinnehtukqut Territory[2] (hereinafter referred to as "Grantee") do give, grant, bargain, sell and confirm unto said Grantee, forever as owner with all rights as an indigenous natural man, the following described Indigenous Real Private Property located on the Creator's earth @ N41043.72704, W72°37.74432.

      The aforementioned Indigenous Real Private Property is now free from encumbrances and is now and forever exempt from levy.

      The Indigenous Real Private Property is now under the jurisdiction of Shakir Ra Ade Bey, a Moor; Indigenous Sovereign to the Land.

      Warranty Deed, Pl.'s Mem. in Opp'n to Mot. to Join [doc. # 85] Ex. A.

      Plaintiff's arguments to the contrary, the Court concluded that it had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367 to hear CitiMortgage's counterclaim. See Order dated Apr. 21, 2010 [doc. # 96]; Jones v. Ford Motor Credit Co., 358 F.3d 205, 211-13 (2d Cir. 2004). Additionally, the Court rejected Plaintiff's arguments that Nicole McLaughlin has no interest in this litigation. See id. at 2. The Court explained that, at least at this stage, it must assume the truth of CitiMortgage's allegations, see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1940-41 (2009), including the assertion of fact that Ms. McLaughlin had signed the promissory note and mortgage at issue. See Order dated Apr. 21, 2010 [doc. # 96] at 2. The Court concluded that if CitiMortgage could effectuate service on Ms. McLaughlin, it would be entitled to join her under Rule 20. See id.; Graham v. Zimmerman, 181 Conn. 367, 372 (1980). On May 24, 2010, Nicole McLaughlin filed a motion to dismiss the counterclaim asserted against her. See N. McLaughlin's Mot. to Dismiss [doc. # 108]. In filing her motion to dismiss the counterclaim, Nicole McLaughlin stated that she is the "authorized representative for NICOLE J. MCLAUGHLIN," and said that she is only appearing before this Court pursuant to a "special," "restricted appearance" under Rule E(8) of the Federal Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims.[3] See id. at 1. This motion is still pending and will be addressed below.

      First, however, the Court turns to Mr. Ade Bey's Amended Complaint [doc. # 67-1]. As mentioned, unlike the original complaint, the Amended Complaint is directed only at CitiMortgage, but it asserts a number of additional claims. Construed liberally, the Amended Complaint asserts claims for a RICO conspiracy; common-law fraud, defamation; and violations of the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the National Bank Act of 1864, and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). See Am. Compl. [doc. # 67-1]. As was generally true with the original complaint, Mr. Ade Bey demands $100 million dollars in damages; the elimination of all negative information CitiMortgage reported to credit reporting agencies; an order that CitiMortgage validate the debt, release all liens on the real estate, convey clear title to the real estate, and produce the "legal `Wet-Ink' contract" and the promissory note; a declaration that CitiMortgage committed fraud and that "the conversion of the Promissory note to a cash instrument is a violation of the National Currency Act of 1864"; and an injunction that CitiMortgage "cease and desist forever its attempts to collect anything from the Plaintiffs,[4] regarding this matter, whatsoever." Id. at 22. CitiMortage argues that none of Mr. Ade Bey's claims states a legally-cognizable claim upon which this Court could grant relief, even assuming that the all of the factual allegations in the Amended Complaint are true. See Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss [doc. # 75]. The Court agrees.

      II. Standard of Review

      When considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draws inferences from these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Boykin v. KeyCorp, 521 F.3d 202, 214 (2d Cir. 2008). This does not mean, however, as Mr. Ade Bey seems to think, that the Court must accept as true every assertion made in anything he files with the Court. Indeed, Mr. Ade Bey has inundated this Court (and defense counsel) with voluminous filings that generally purport to set forth facts related to either the merits of his claims or his religious status. See, e.g., Pl.'s Verified Plain Statement of Truth [doc. # 59]; Pl.'s Judicial Notice/Declaration of Status [doc. # 63]; Pl.'s Verified Affidavit of Facts by Specific Negative Averment [doc. # 68]; Pl.'s Notice to File Evidence into Evidence File [doc. # 83]; and Pl.'s Judicial Notice [doc. # 93]. In one such filing, Mr. Ade Bey demanded that within 21 calendar days, CitiMortgage must either "[d]ismiss any and all claims against RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN with prejudice and Pay all damages as indicated by the initial complaint," or alternatively, "prove [its] case by preponderance or the greater weight of evidence and . . . answer each and every averment,[5] Point by Point individually." Pl.'s Verified Affidavit of Facts by Specific Negative Averment [doc. # 68] at 13-14. This filing went on to warn that:

      If any and all points are not answered fully and accompanied by lawfully documented evidence, as provided herein, that will be Default on the part of the CITIMORTGAGE INCORPORATED. Non Response according to the conditions herein will be default. Incomplete answers and/ or lack of documented evidence as outlined herein will be Default. If CITIMORTGAGE INCORPORATED fails to respond as outlined herein, within 21 calendar days, this will be Default. Non Response will be a Self Executing Confession of Judgment by CITIMORTGAGE INCORPORATED, and will be complete agreement with all the statements, terms, and conditions of this contract. This is a contract in Admiralty. Any officer of the court that interferes or involves himself/herself with this claim will be added to this claim and become a Third Party Defendant. All Third Party Defendants are jointly and severally liable for this claim.

      Id. at 14. When CitiMortgage did not respond to Mr. Ade Bey's satisfaction,[6] he filed a "Judicial Notice," stating that "Defendant has not responded and has failed to respond within the allotted time thus WE have an agreement in fact." Pl.'s Notice [doc. # 93] at 2; see also Pl.'s Aff. of Default J./Estoppel & Laches by Acquiescence/Certification of Non Response Re: Aff. of Negative Specific Averment [doc. # 100] ¶¶ 5-8 (asserting that CitiMortgage's failure to respond adequately to the "Affidavit of Negative Averment" meant that it is barred from continuing this litigation by default, acquiescence, consent, estoppel, laches, and stare decisis); see also id., Aff. of Facts [doc. # 100-1] ¶ 4 ("The court now needs to move Sua Sponte as the matter is res judicata and the parties have an agreement in fact which is now stare decisis.").

      This is, to put it mildly, not the way the Federal Rules operate — Mr. Ade Bey's clear conviction notwithstanding. As the Court explained during the in-court status conference, Mr. Ade Bey, as a party to this lawsuit, may take discovery of CitiMortgage on matters related to the claims at issue in this case. The Court similarly advised Mr. Ade Bey that he should familiarize himself with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the District's Local Rules. See Order dated Mar. 10, 2010 [doc. # 72]. While the Court applies the rules with some liberality to those, such as Mr. Ade Bey, who are proceeding pro se, see Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009), not even pro se parties are entitled to make up their own rules and insist that defendants follow them, see, e.g., Agiwal v. Mid Island Mortg. Corp., 555 F.3d 298, 302 (2d Cir. 2009) ("`[A]ll litigants, including pro ses, have an obligation to comply with court orders, and failure to comply may result in sanctions, including dismissal with prejudice." (quoting Minotti v. Lensink, 895 F.3d 100, 103 (2d Cir. 1990) (alteration in original)).

      Accordingly, in resolving CitiMortgage's Motion to Dismiss, the Court considers only those factual allegations contained in the operative complaint — here, the Amended Complaint [doc. # 67-1] dated February 24, 2010. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, in order to survive a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Selevan v. N.Y. Thruway Auth., 584 F.3d 82, 95 (2d Cir. 2009). Two working principles underlie the Supreme Court's plausibility standard. See Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "First, although `a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint,' that `tenet' `is inapplicable to legal conclusions' and `threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.'" Harris, 572 F.3d at 72 (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949). The Rule 8 pleading threshold "does not require detailed factual allegations," but it nonetheless requires "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 120-21 (2d Cir. 2010) ("[A]lthough Twombly and Iqbal require `factual amplification [where] needed to render a claim plausible, we reject [the] contention that Twombly and Iqbal require the pleading of specific evidence or extra facts beyond what is needed to make the claim plausible." (quoting Ross v. Bank of America, N.A., 524 F.3d 217, 225 (2d Cir. 2008) (first alteration in original)). "`Second, . . . `determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.'" Harris, 572 F.3d at 72 (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950); see also Austen v. Catterton Partners V, LP, ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, ___, 2010 WL 625389, at *2 (D. Conn. Feb. 17, 2010). Finally, as previously mentioned, the Court is obligated to construe pro se pleadings liberally. See Agiwal, 555 F.3d at 302; Harris, 572 F.3d at 72.

      III. Background

      Before considering Mr. Ade Bey's specific claims, the Court will endeavor to explain the general nature of Mr. Ade Bey's lawsuit. As mentioned already, Mr. Ade Bey has submitted numerous and voluminous filings to be docketed in this case. He has done the same in another case that is presently before this Court,[7] and the discussion in this section is equally applicable to that case. From Mr. Ade Bey's filings and the in-court status conference (which related to both cases), the Court believes the following general account to be true.

      Mr. Ade Bey's claims — both legal and factual — appear to be premised on at least three interrelated and overlapping theories that have preoccupied a certain subset of the population for at least the last three decades. Other courts have referred to them as the "Redemptionist"[8] theory; the "vapor money" theory; and the "unlawful money" theory, and this Court will do the same, although the Court hastens to add that Mr. Ade Bey does not so characterize his claims.

      The "Redemptionist" theory seems to explain Mr. Ade Bey's relationship to the all-capital letter "RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN." As the Third Circuit has explained:

      [T]he "Redemptionist" theory . . . propounds that a person has a split personality: a real person and a fictional person called the "strawman." The "strawman" purportedly came into being when the United States went off the gold standard in 1933, and, instead, pledged the strawman of its citizens as collateral for the country's national debt. Redemptionists claim that government has power only over the strawman and not over the live person, who remains free. Individuals can free themselves by filing UCC financing statements, thereby acquiring an interest in their strawman. . . . Adherents of this scheme also advocate that [individuals] copyright their names to justify filing liens against officials using their names in public records such as indictments or court papers.

      Monroe v. Beard, 536 F.3d 198, 203 n.4 (3d Cir. 2008); see also United States v. Landers, 564 F.3d 1217, 1219 & n.1 (10th Cir. 2009) (discussing the theory's origins); Clark v. Caruso, No. 09CV10300, 2010 WL 746417, at *5 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 2, 2010); Marr v. Caruso, No. 1:07 CV 745, 2008 WL 4426340, at *4-5 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 22, 2008); cf. U.S. v. James, 328 F.3d 953, 954 (7th Cir. 2003). The Ohio Supreme Court explains this theory further, as follows:

      The Redemptionists claim that by a birth certificate, the government created "strawmen" out of its citizens. A person's name spelled in "English," that is with initial capital letters and small letters, represents the "real person," that is, the flesh and blood person. Whenever a person's name is written in total capitals, however, as it is on a birth certificate, the Redemptionists believe that only the "strawman" is referenced, and the flesh and blood person is not involved.

      Ohio v. Lutz, 2003 Ohio 275, P*12 (2003); see also Bryant v. Wash. Mut. Bank, 524 F. Supp. 2d 753, 758-61 (W.D. Va. 2007).

      Another tenet of the Redemptionist theory is that when the United States Government "pledged the strawman of its citizens as collateral for the country's national debt," Monroe, 536 F.3d at 203 n.4, it created an "exemption account" for each citizen, identified by each person's Social Security number. See Bryant, 524 F. Supp. 2d at 759. When citizens contract for debt, the theory goes, their debts are collateralized by their respective exemption accounts, essentially making the U.S. Government ultimately responsible for satisfaction of their debts. See id. Moreover, each citizen's exemption account is virtually bottomless, meaning that those who understand this theory — and who file the appropriate UCC financing statements, and thereby become a free sovereign, a process known as "redemption," see id. — never have to actually pay for anything.[9] See, e.g., Dinsmore-Thomas v. Ameriprise Fin., Inc., No. 08CV587, 2009 WL 2431917, at *6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 3, 2009); Ray v. Williams, No. CV04863, 2005 WL 697041, at *5 (D. Ore. Mar. 24, 2005) (describing the "Redemptionist" philosophy, whose adherents "assign an imaginary account number to some sort of direct treasury account, advocate that this direct treasury account has a balance equal to the monetary value the government places on the life of the individual, and then charge against this direct treasury account through the use of fraudulent checks"); Lutz, 2003 Ohio at P*13 ("By filing a UCC-1 financing statement, the flesh and blood person can make a claim against the assets obtained by the government from the `strawman.' The flesh and blood person Ronald Lutz, therefore, filed a UCC-1 financing statement against the assets earned by the `strawman' RONALD LUTZ and held by the government. By filing this statement, the Redemptionists believe, the flesh and blood person can draw against the funds earned by the `strawman.'").

      While the Court does not lightly ascribe such beliefs to anyone — and again, to be clear, Mr. Ade Bey has not explicitly stated these beliefs in so many words — the only plausible explanation that this Court can discern for the arguments in Mr. Ade Bey's filings is that they are rooted in this Redemptionist theory. This would explain, for example, Mr. Ade Bey's insistence on RAYMOND WINTSON MCLAUGHLIN being represented in all capital letters: that was (or is) Mr. Ade Bey's "strawman." See, e.g., Pl.'s Verified Affidavit of Facts by Specific Negative Averment [doc. # 68] ¶ 13 ("There is no evidence in fact that RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN is not a fictional Unincorporated Corporation and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists."); id. ¶ 14 ("I deny that RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN is a living breathing sentient man."); Pl.'s Reply to Mot. to Compel [doc. # 104] at 3 ("The capitalization of one's name, the creation of a "STRAWMAN" was/is a Corporate government creation and endeav[o]r . . . ."). It would also explain why Mr. Ade Bey recorded a security interest in and a power of attorney for "RAYMOND WINTSON MCLAUGHLIN," see Pl.'s Judicial Notice/Declaration of Status [doc. # 63], and why he objected during the in-court status conference to this Court's description of him as pro se — meaning representing oneself, see Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) — insisting instead that he appeared in propria persona, Latin for "in one's own person," see id.[10] Since this lawsuit was commenced in the name of RAYMOND WINTSON MCLAUGHLIN, see Compl. [doc. # 1], it would be inconsistent with the Redemptionist theory for Mr. Ade Bey to appear pro se. See Pl.'s Pet. to Compel [doc. # 94] at 1-2 (requesting that the Court order defense counsel to refrain from addressing Mr. Ade Bey "out of status" — i.e., as the upper- and lower-case "Raymond McLaughlin" — but stating that if defense counsel "wishes to address the 14th Amendment citizen legal fiction/U.S. vessel RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN, they can continue to do as they've always done by directing their comments to RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN").

      The Redemptionist theory also sheds light on Mr. Ade Bey's otherwise puzzling practice of putting the words "IN ADMIRALTY" at the top of most of his filings, as well as his seeming preoccupation with the UCC. "The Redemptionists claim that when the country went into bankruptcy, maritime law became the law of the land. The only laws in force are the UCC, and every interaction between persons is financial." Lutz, 2003 Ohio at P*15. What is more, if Mr. Ade Bey does adhere to the Redemptionist view, that would unravel the mystery of the "$10,000,000 Indemnity Bond" [docs. # 90-91] he filed in this case, which purports to be secured by a "pre-paid account, exemption ID [a nine-digit number]" — i.e., an "exemption account" — as well as his demand for damages to be paid in pure silver, see supra note 2.

      The Redemptionist theory's contentions regarding the 1933 bankruptcy of the United States and "exemption accounts" are also reflected by allegations in the Amended Complaint. See, e.g., Am. Compl. [doc. # 67-1] at 4 ¶ 1-3 ("It is Plaintiff's contention that the UNITED STATES is and has been in bankruptcy since at least 1933 . . . . [T]he gold standard was suspended by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As a result, this made the dollar non-redeemable. In addition, the people became the Creditor for the Bankrupt system. As a result, a Federal Reserve Note became a debt note and does not have intrinsic value . . . . As a result . . ., only the People (Creditors) can bring new monies into circulation. Said monies are directly brought into existence from an Exemption Account which was created at the Federal Reserve. Thus, without a Creditor's signature and/or Social Security Number, no new monies can be created . . . ."); see also Pl.'s Verified Affidavit of Facts by Specific Negative Averment [doc. # 68] ¶ 35 ("There is no evidence in fact that the UNITED STATES is not bankrupt and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists."); id. ¶ 103 ("There is no evidence in fact that CITIMORTGAGE did not access RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN's EXEMPTION ACCOUNT and already has received the face value of the alleged "NOTE" and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists.").

      The "vapor money" and "unlawful money" theories appear to be tenets or corollaries to the above-described "Redemptionist" theory. As best the Court can discern, Mr. Ade Bey's arguments seemed to be based, at least in part, on these theories as well. The "vapor money" theory states that "any debt based upon a loan of credit rather than legal tender is unenforceable." Andrews v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., No. 09CV2437, 2010 WL 1176667, at *3 (D. Md. Mar. 24, 2010). For its part, the "unlawful money" theory holds that "the issuance of `credit' . . . violate[s] Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, which purportedly `requires a state to accept and recognize only gold and silver coin as legal tender.'" Buckley v. Bayrock Mortg. Corp., No. 09CV1387, 2010 WL 476673, at *8 (N.D. Ga. Jan. 12. 2010) (quoting Rudd v. Keybank, N.A., No. 2:05CV0523, 2006 WL 212096, at *5 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 25, 2006)).

      The essence of the "vapor money" theory is that promissory notes (and similar instruments) are the equivalent of "money" that citizens literally "create" with their signatures. See, e.g., Demmler v. Bank One N.A., No. 2:05CV322, 2006 WL 640499, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 9, 2006). This mechanism for the creation of "money" appears to be what Mr. Ade Bey means when he alleges that "only the People (Creditors) can bring new monies into circulation. Said monies are directly brought into existence from an Exemption Account which was created at the Federal Reserve. Thus, without a Creditor's signature and/or Social Security Number, no new monies can be created . . . ." Am. Compl. [doc. # 67-1] at 4 ¶ 3. Bolstering this argument (at least for its adherents) is the fact that once received, banks typically deposit promissory notes into their own accounts and list them as assets. See, e.g., Demmler, 2006 WL 640499, at *3. Then, according to the vapor money theory, the bank purports to lend the "money" that was "created" by the citizen's signature back to the citizen-borrower. See, e.g., id. As the court in Demmler explained it:

      Plaintiff alleges that the promissory note he executed is the equivalent of "money" that he gave to the bank. He contends that [the lender] took his "money," i.e., the promissory note, deposited it into his account without his permission, listed it as an "asset" on its ledger entries, and then essentially lent his own money back to him. He contends that [the lender] . . . "created" the money through its bookkeeping procedures.

      Richardson v. Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams., No. 3:08CV1857, 2008 WL 5225824, at *6-7

      (M.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2008) (quoting Demmler, 2006 WL 640499, at *3 (alterations in original)).

      At this point in the argument, plaintiffs relying on the vapor money theory typically introduce an additional wrinkle: whereas they gave the banks valuable "money" (in the form of a promissory note), the banks gave them something that is essentially worthless: "mere" credit (and the right to live in their homes, but that appears to be immaterial to the argument). As allegedly established by the "unlawful money" theory, issuing credit violates the Constitution's prohibition against "mak[ing] any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts." U.S. Const. Art I § 10.[11] See Buckley, 2010 WL 476673, at *8; see also Pl.'s Obj. to Mot. to Dismiss [doc. # 89] at 9-10 ("The efforts by the Defendant to collect Federal Reserve Notes from Plaintiff when it knew that said notes are unconstitutional pursuant to Article 1, Section 10 . . . are clearly unlawful.").

      This "fact" has at least two clear benefits to the citizen-borrower, both of which Mr. Ade Bey appears to claim for himself. First, it means that the bank-lender gave essentially no consideration, and risked nothing, in making the purported loan, rendering the transaction void (or at least voidable) under general principles of contract law. See, e.g., Torne v. Republic Mortg. LLC, No. 2:09CV2445, 2010 WL 1904507, at *2 (D. Nev. May 10, 2010) ("Plaintiff claims his loan from Republic Mortgage is invalid because Republic Mortgage made the loan with credit rather than with direct cash."); Demmler, 2006 WL 640499, at *3 ("[Plaintiff] further argues that because [the bank] was never at risk, and provided no consideration, the promissory note is void ab initio and Defendants' attempts to foreclose on the mortgage are therefore unlawful."); Rene v. Citibank, 32 F. Supp. 2d 539, 544-45 (E.D.N.Y. 1999); United States v. Schiefen, 926 F. Supp. 877, 880-81 (D.S.D. 1995) (rejecting arguments that there was insufficient consideration to secure the promissory note, and that lender had "created money" by means of a bookkeeping entry); see also Pl.'s Verified Affidavit of Facts by Specific Negative Averment [doc. # 68] ¶ 74 ("There is no evidence in fact that CITIMORTGAGE is at risk when it allegedly lends money and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists."); id. ¶ 83 ("There is no evidence in fact that a Bank lends anything and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists.").

      The second alleged benefit of this theory is that when borrowing from a bank, the citizen-borrower actually comes out ahead in the transaction — after all, she is the only one who gave anything of value, and it would constitute unjust enrichment for the bank to "keep" the value of what the citizen-borrower gave it. See id. ¶ 50 ("There is no evidence in fact that all PROCEEDS from the monetizing of the alleged "Promissory Note" do not belong to RAYMOND MCLAUGHLIN and NICOLE MCLAUGHLIN and Affiant denies that any such evidence exists."). And as already mentioned, banks typically list the value of promissory notes on the asset side of their accounting ledgers, treating the notes as the functional equivale

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