I am reading a page by the FBI on the Sovereign Citizen Movement. The article goes on to say:

Not every action taken in the name of the sovereign citizen ideology is a crime, but the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive ...

  • Engineer various white-collar scams, including mortgage fraud and so-called “redemption” schemes.

I found another FBI page that provides information on redemption schemes at Common Fraud Schemes | Redemption/Strawman/Bond Fraud. The page does not explain what the scheme is. It gives some pieces of information about what some people do, and it also says fraudulent documents are sometimes used, but I don't understand what, exactly, is being done.

Since it is a scheme, I expect someone is trying to disgorge me and my money. But since it is not a confidence scheme, there must be another angle in play.

What are redemption schemes?

  • 1
    The Wikpedia page Redemption movement seems to cover a lot of the background. From a quick scan of the FBI page and the Wiki one, it is a confidence scheme: the con-merchants will try to convince you that it is possible to get large sums of money through "redemption". Of course, they will make you pay (a) to get some of the info for how to do it; (b) to get a bit more of the info for how to do it; (c) to make use of a tame "Notary" they have access to, and (d) anything else they can think of!
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 9:19
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    @TripeHound Please do not answer questions in the comments.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 9:21
  • @BenMiller Sorry, I normally don't. I was originally just going to add the link for more info, but got a little carried away. Any non-link-only answer I could create would just be quoting sections of the Wiki page, which doesn't seem that helpful. I'll delete my comment in a few minutes (in case you want to add the link to your answer).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 9:30
  • @TripeHound I have added the Wikipedia link to my answer as you suggest, but feel free to post the text of your answer as an answer.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 9:37

3 Answers 3


I believe that “redemption schemes” refers to a conspiracy theory-based scam based on the idea that you can redeem your birth certificate for money. We had a question about it earlier this year. You can read more about the ridiculous idea on the Skeptoid Blog, or even more details on Wikipedia.

More generally, there are scams where the crook claims that there is a secret way to get money from the government, and if you pay him, he will tell you how to do it. The pitch includes some crazy story about a secret program that requires the government to give you money if you know the secret.


Redemption scam is when someone is accepting goods deemed for redemptions at certain price point with knowledge they were purchased in place with different redemption price.

In tv sitcom "Seinfield" there is an example of it. Moving bottles from New York to Michigan where the redemption price is higher.


As pointed out by the wikipedia page on Redemption movement, the promoter is selling phoney bills of exchange to the victims. It is considered fraudulent scheme because those phoney bills of exchange have no legal binding on representation.

You can imagine the con-artist faking their roles as representative of an organisation/boy that they do not belong to. The con-artist simply takes the victim money and giving them a voucher that cannot exchange anything.

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