WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A North Carolina man was convicted for creating and distributing a counterfeit currency that was very similar to the real dollar, a U.S. Attorney said.
Bernard von NotHaus, 67, minted Liberty Dollar coins in the value of $7 million dollars. The conviction concludes an investigation that was started in 2005.
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” Anne Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said in a statement on Friday.
“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she said.
The coins looked similar to official American currency, carrying the dollar sign and the words dollar, USA, Liberty, and Trust in God.
The Liberty Dollars were so widespread that the U.S. Mint and the Department of Justice issued a release in September 2006, warning consumers that the money was fraudulent.
NotHaus has been associated with organizations that question the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. system of currency.
The statement said that NotHaus founded the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code in 1998 and remained its president and executive director until 2008.
NotHaus advocated that the silver medallions were inflation-proof alternatives to the American currency.
He faces a sentence up to 25 years in prison and must forfeit 16,000 pounds of the minted money.
Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune