OGDEN -- A 53-year-old Ogden man faces federal charges after officials say he violated several laws in a fraudulent lien scheme where he sent letters to city and government officials demanding trillions of dollars be paid to him.
Harvey Douglas Goff was arrested Thursday morning in Ogden, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City.
The 14-count indictment that was unsealed Thursday in federal court charges Goff with obstruction of justice, impeding internal revenue laws, fictitious obligations, attempt to commit mail fraud and mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud.
Ten counts of the indictment relate to conduct that began with an Ogden traffic stop. According to court documents, an Ogden police officer stopped Goff for speeding in March 2010.
"The defendant protested that he had been stopped, and presented paperwork claiming to be a diplomatic agent and immune from detention, arrest or prosecution," the indictment reads. "The defendant further asserted that he was going to charge $1,000 to (the) officer for every minute he was delayed."
The officer gave Goff a warning, and he left the scene. The officer conducted a background check on Goff, and discovered Goff's claims of being a diplomatic agent were unfounded.
Another Ogden officer stopped Goff later that month for moving violations, and the investigation into Goff's conduct continued.
Goff, who represented himself in the June 2010 proceedings connected to the two traffic incidents, filed several pleadings in his state felony prosecution. His requests were denied by the court, and he was bound over for trial. In December, Goff failed to appear for a pretrial conference, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
The indictment also alleged that in November 2010, Goff mailed documents to various employees or entities of the State of Utah, Weber County, Ogden City, and the Ogden Police Department. The document claim that the agencies contracted to pay him more than $53 trillion in damages. The documents were said to be part of a "self-help administrative process" and said the recipients had 10 days to respond before a "default" resulted.
In an apparent effort to create an appearance of indebtedness, Goff followed up by filing a lien against various employees and entities in the state, including Ogden City employees, the Weber County Attorney's Office, police officers at the Ogden Police Department, and several district court judges. The liens falsely asserted that the employees and entities owed Goff more than $53 trillion. The lien was filed on 77 parcels within Weber County.
The indictment also charges Goff with obstructing justice by repeatedly filing false and frivolous documents involving the judge in an IRS case and impeding internal revenue laws. Two counts of the indictment also allege that Goff tried to submit fake documents to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Goff had an initial court appearance Thursday before Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba, however Goff refused to stand when ordered to, which led to an intervention by U.S. Marshals. He refused the appointment of council, would not acknowledge his name or identity, and claimed he had been kidnapped from his home -- though it was shown in court that federal agents had served an authorized search warrant. A mental health evaluation was ordered.
The case is being investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and IRS Criminal Investigation. If convicted, the potential penalty for each count of obstruction of justice, attempt to commit mail fraud, and mailings in furtherance of a scheme and artifice to defraud is up to 20 years in federal prison. The two fictitious obligation counts each carry potential penalties of up to 25 years, while the penalty for impeding IRS laws is up to three years in prison. The potential fine for each count of the indictment is $250,000.