Back in 1999, Roger Elvick concocted a silly idea that criminal charges (indictments, complaints, etc), were “commercial instruments,”, i.e., promissory notes, and that when such “instruments" are “presented” to citizens, the proper and legal response should be to accept such “instruments” for “value” via the UCC. Elvick's ideas involved names in CAPS and "recapturing" your straw man by filing various UCC forms, and he concluded that in response to criminal charges, one should issue checks or drafts drawn on "your" Treasury Direct Account. Elvick's basic concepts were popularized by Vic Varjabedian, who in his nonsensical UCC book, Cracking the Code, added more silliness and blatant lies. The difference between Elvick and Varjabedian is that, while Elvick contended you should issue drafts drawn on the US Treasury, Varjabedian concocted the theory that you should "copyright" your name. But, Varjabedian clearly claimed that traffic tickets are commercial instruments; see excerpts from his book here. To be polite, let me characterize this contention as utterly insane.

Criminal charges are made via complaints and indictments. A grand jury can, of its own volition, return a “presentment” which is a criminal charge initiated without request from a prosecutor. At this link, there is a scan of the definition of “presentment” from Black’s Law Dictionary.

The word “presentment” has another meaning regarding commercial instruments and it is the act of presenting a negotiable instrument for payment. It is utterly crazy to confuse a “criminal presentment” with a “commercial presentment,” and the two are not the same. Yet, the “redemption” crowd promotes to the gullible the nonsense that an indictment is a commercial presentment, and that you should “accept for value” any such criminal charge, or even "copyright" your name.

There are several ridiculous errors regarding this argument. First, a commercial presentment is made using an actual negotiable instrument, which has at least these two basic elements: (a) it is signed by a “maker”, and (b) it contains a promise to pay a sum of money. While an indictment is signed by a grand jury foreman, it contains no promise to pay. Similarly, while written letters are signed by the authors thereof, they are not negotiable instruments. Do you really think that an indictment signed by a foreman is a negotiable instrument? If you do, then why don’t you sue the alleged “maker,” the foreman, to collect the funds promised via an indictment? But more importantly, what is the amount of money actually owed and set forth in an indictment?

Another serious error of this argument is to think that the defendant charged in the indictment is the “maker” of the “note”, i.e., the indictment. It is obvious that a defendant does not sign an indictment; under these circumstances, why would he “accept for value” an instrument upon which he has no liability as the "maker" of a negotiable instrument? Furthermore, it is incredibly DANGEROUS to “accept for value” an indictment. Why in the world would a defendant, denying his guilt as charged in an indictment, say something like “I accept this indictment for value” or “I do not contest the indictment”, when these very words might be construed as an admission of guilt?

But the height of this insanity is to issue negotiable instruments in response as advocated by Elvick, who is still "conning" people in this respect as late as last week. Let me make it perfectly clear: it is utterly false to state that every American has a Treasury Direct Account (allegedly created by the 1935 SS Act), containing lots of funds in it that can be the subject of some commercial instrument like a check or draft. Lots of people have been advised to do this, particularly at the behest of Barton Buhtz. Buhtz has been indicted for this activity, and charged with violating 18 U.S.C. §514, which provides in part as follows:

Section 514. Fictitious obligations.
(a) Whoever, with the intent to defraud -
(1) draws, prints, processes, produces, publishes, or otherwise makes, or attempts or causes the same, within the United States;
(2) passes, utters, presents, offers, brokers, issues, sells, or attempts or causes the same, or with like intent possesses, within the United States; or
(3) utilizes interstate or foreign commerce, including the use of the mails or wire, radio, or other electronic communication, to transmit, transport, ship, move, transfer, or attempts or causes the same, to, from, or through the United States,
any false or fictitious instrument, document, or other item appearing, representing, purporting, or contriving through scheme or artifice, to be an actual security or other financial instrument issued under the authority of the United States, a foreign government, a State or other political subdivision of the United States, or an organization, shall be guilty of a class B felony.
(b) For purposes of this section, any term used in this section that is defined in section 513(c) has the same meaning given such term in section 513(c).

Section 513. Securities of the States and private entities

(3) the term "security" means -
(A) a note, stock certificate, treasury stock certificate, bond, treasury bond, debenture, certificate of deposit, interest coupon, bill, check, draft, warrant, debit instrument as defined in section 916(c) of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, money order, traveler's check, letter of credit, warehouse receipt, negotiable bill of lading, evidence of indebtedness, certificate of interest in or participation in any profit-sharing agreement, collateral-trust certificate, pre-reorganization certificate of subscription, transferable share, investment contract, voting trust certificate, or certificate of interest in tangible or intangible property;

It pains me just to think of calculating the Sentencing Guidelines’ offense level for Buhtz if he gets convicted in this case; I daresay that it will result in a sentence exceeding the rest of his life. Why would people want to expose themselves to further criminal charges by “accepting for value” an indictment, and then issuing a bad check drawn on the US Treasury? Yet, Eddie Kahn convinced lots of people to do this.

But that which is most troubling regarding this stupid argument is not that it persuades people to write hot checks, but that it urges people to write hot checks allegedly drawn on an account at the US Treasury, but which account in fact does not exist!!! Please do not believe the smooth words of some UCC/redemption process promoter to do the above as it exposes you to criminal charges.

And please remember, that lawyers have never promoted or advocated this nonsense about the redemption process. It has been promoted by gurus like Elvick and Vic "copyright your name" Varjabedian, who are, at a minimum, stupid idiots.