Tony Davis
Advance Fee Scammer
(posted March 3, 2018)

Advance 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. ยง 3231 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 title.

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act was not really enacted, then the laws providing for federal court jurisdiction in effect in June, 1948 were never repealed, and thus even if Davis was correct, his argument had no substance.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 Statesman and Prison Legal News. 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.