A federal judge sentenced a “sovereign citizen” who targeted court and law enforcement officials with bogus liens to seven years in prison – beyond what even prosecutors had recommended.
Cherron Phillips filed maritime liens, each worth $100 billion, against former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, former chief U.S. District Court Judge James Holderman, three other judges, and five other law enforcement officials.
The 44-year-old Chicago woman, who goes by the name River Tali Bey, became involved in the sovereign citizen movement after her older brother died in 2003 and a younger brother was arrested on drug charges in 2006.
Her parents were then charged with tax evasion, and all three relatives were sentenced to federal prison.
Phillips, who was the longtime girlfriend of former NBA star Nick Anderson and is the mother of his adult son, engaged in the sovereign citizen practice the judge described as “paper terrorism.”
She began filing the bogus liens after she was barred in 2011 from the federal courthouse in Chicago.
Her attorney had asked the court for probation for her conviction on 10 counts of retaliation against a federal official.
But U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan imposed the seven-year term, six months longer than even prosecutors had recommended.