fee loan brokers
are typically con-artists and Tony Davis
was one of them. He made false promises of loans to his victims,
collected advance fees and then never delivered. For this, he was
indicted, convicted and sentenced to 60 months in jail. He was
also ordered to pay $3,609,937.79 in restitution. His conviction
was affirmed on appeal. See United
States v. Davis
, 226 F.3d 346 (5th Cir. 2000).
Apparently while in jail, he engaged in some rudimentary legal
research. The jurisdiction of federal courts for federal crimes is
based on 18 U.S.C.
which states that the "district courts of the United
States shall have original jurisdiction, exclusive of the courts
of the States, of all offenses against the laws of the United
States." In 1947, the laws regarding federal crimes were scattered
throughout numerous acts in the U.S. Statutes at Large, and
Congress desired to codify all of such crimes into one title of
the U.S. Code. To accomplish this goal, it enacted Title 18, U.S.
Code, in June, 1948. Prior laws related to the jurisdiction of the
federal courts for federal crimes were incorporated into this
Davis "developed" an argument that Title 18 was not actually duly
enacted by Congress in June, 1948, and thus there was no
jurisdiction for the federal courts to hear and try federal
crimes. However, if this act was not really enacted, then the laws
providing for federal court jurisdiction in effect in June, 1948
were never repealed, and thus even if Davis was correct, his
argument had no substance. Notwithstanding huge flaws, Davis
decided to promote this argument to gullible victims.
One of the first cases where one of Davis' victims raised this
issue was that involving Bill Derlath, who had been indicted and
convicted in the Southern District of Texas for bringing illegal
aliens into the country. On June 27, 2006, the district court in
that case denied Derlath's post-trial writ to vacate his
conviction and soundly rejected this baseless argument. By 2007,
this argument was pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit, and the court in United States v. States
242 Fed.Appx. 362 (7th Cir. 2007), rejected the argument with one
sentence: "This case is unbelievably frivolous." See United
States v. Collins
, 510 F.3d 697, 698 (7th Cir. 2007).
Several articles have been written about Davis' promotion of this
argument, and these articles detail how Davis has scammed a number
of people. See Austin
. But, Davis needs to pay more than 3 million bux
in restitution and continues promoting this argument more than a
decade after he developed it.