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'Sovereign citizen' gets 15 months for passing $250K in fake Treasury checks

File photo
File photo (Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 47-year-old Jacksonville real estate investor was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison on a conviction of passing fake U.S. Treasury checks.

Neil Andre Butler was found guilty by a federal jury on July 20.

According to court documents, Butler was a real estate investor who borrowed funds to buy distressed properties, intending to refurbish and “flip” them for a profit.

When his business began to fail, in an effort to stave off his creditors, Butler manufactured and mailed four fraudulent checks to his creditors. The checks totaled over $250,000 and were purportedly payable by the United States Treasury, court records show.

Throughout the proceedings, Butler asserted various defenses associated with the so-called “Sovereign Citizen” movement, including denying that the court had jurisdiction over his case.