A man facing mortgage fraud charges and claiming exemption from US laws as part of the “Moor nation,” an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement, was arrested for contempt of court in Rockdale County Superior Court Monday.
Akeem Kwame, also called Gregory Ross, 48, of Covington was taken into custody after heated, round-about exchanges with Judge David Irwin. Irwin revoked Kwame’s bond and put him back in Rockdale County jail until his next court date.
Kwame faces four counts of mortgage fraud and one count of false statement for moving into a Conyers home that did not belong to him in May 2010, changing the locks, attempting to modify the loan on the house, and filing a claim to the property.
During his appearance on Monday, Kwame, who arrived a few minutes after court started dressed in a suit, was repeatedly asked by Judge David Irwin whether he was ready for trial.
“It’s a simple question. Are you ready for trial, yes or no? It’s a yes or no. After that you may explain,” said Irwin.
Kwame replied, “Judge, I conditionally accept your offer to continue this once I am presented with the documentation so I can inspect any accusatory original instruments for my inspection.”
Later, during a second session after he was placed in custody, Kwame also claimed he had filed documents and asked for Irwin’s help in answering questions. Irwin told him he was not his attorney and had previously advised him during the arraignment hearing and calendar motions to get an attorney or have a public defender appointed to him if he could not afford one.
Irwin said, “As far as the Moor Nations, or Martian law, we’re going to go on Georgia law. As based upon the Georgia statutes, as done by the Georgia legislature, you have a right to a trial on those issues. That’s it… I have given you opportunities, I have given you offers, and you have refused.”
“You’re placing the occupant of the executor office of the Akeem Kwame in custody? Is that what you’re saying?”
“I’m going to place Akeem Kwame and anybody else that doesn’t respond. You and the grand Poopah of the Moor Nation if that happens to be you,” said Irwin.
During the exchange, Irwin also asked Kwame if was aware of his Constitutional right to a lawyer.
“I waive those Constitutional rights because that Constitution is not in my jurisdiction,” said Kwame. “I am an American foreign national. I am not an American citizen.”
According to Rockdale County Sheriff's Office reports, neighbors noticed Kwame had moved into the house that was being sold to a Stone Mountain couple. Kwame had reportedly contacted the homeowner saying he was a private banker and had sent her a quit claim deed, which she did not sign. Someone also contacted the mortgage company, posing as the homeowner's husband, and did a loan modification.
Documents that Kwame filed with his case stated "In consideration of the fact that no lawful money of account exists in circulation.... I underwrite with my private exemption... in the amount of $1,000,000 for any and all obigations." He also cited the US Constitution, described a 2004 Porche Cayenne, iPod, CDs and baseball bat that were siezed, and described himself as "An Aboriginal, Indigenous, Asiatic, Nine Ether, Moor Created by The Most High God, of all worlds."
Adherents to sovereign citizen-type philosophies claim immunity from local, state, and national laws, particularly with driving regulations and taxes. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates about 300,000 people in the United States claim to be part of the movement.
In a previous report, the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office described one typical activity of the movement as placing liens or encumberances on property by filing frivolous paperwork.