A New York man accused of running a mortgage fraud scheme begged a judge to release him from jail to fight the charges — even though he’s been deemed a flight risk who doesn’t believe U.S. laws apply to him.
Bruce Lewis has spent Christmas behind bars the past two years as he awaits trial on a mail fraud charge as the court sorts through his various challenges, reported Westfair Online.
The 66-year-old Lewis, who considers himself a “sovereign citizen,” wants to represent himself because he claims to have an existing contract with “I, me myself.”
He fired his court-appointed attorney in April, which prompted U.S. District Judge Nelson Roman to appoint another attorney to assist in the case.
The judge ruled Lewis mentally competent following a psychological exam, but he denied the man’s request to represent himself due to his “continuous ramblings” and illogical statements — such as a claim that he is helping President Donald Trump reduce the national debt.
“Yeah, I plan to bring the national debt down by $3 trillion,” Lewis told the court.
Lewis was arrested four days before Christmas last year with four co-defendants who operated Terra Foundation in Valhalla, which promised to reduce or eliminate mortgage debts for clients but instead allegedly filed phony documents.
The company filed nearly 60 mortgage discharge papers with county clerks between 2011 and 2012, on loans worth $33 million, and charged a monthly fee for services that were never rendered.
The other four defendants were released on bail last year, but Lewis remains jailed because the court deems him a flight risk with no ties to the community or a place to stay, and because he considers himself above the law.
He claimed in a Dec. 26 letter to the court that he was being framed and treated as “Public Enemy No. 1,” and Lewis asked for his release while the case works its way through court.
“I’m so sad I can’t stop crying,” Lewis wrote.