The FBI is looking for a local woman who disappeared just two weeks before her scheduled trial on multiple charges of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering, and is now considered a fugitive.
Jennifer Mctigue apparently dropped out of sight after both of her codefendants, including her close friend, Sakara Blackwell, entered guilty pleas and agreed to testify against her.
McTigue’s Facebook page features several photos of her traveling gone the mainland with Blackwell. The photos date back about three years.
Their scam, which netted them millions, involved gaining control of distressed properties and then creating a bogus paper trail claiming to show that all prior debts had been paid off.
According to the governments trial brief:
McTigue, Melton, and Blackwell first obtained title to a distressed property, or identified a distressed property with cooperative owners. McTigue and/or Melton delivered fraudulent documents by U.S. mail to the financial institutions holding mortgage liens against the properties. The mailed materials purported to authorize McTigue and/or Melton to release the mortgage, via documents identified by Melton and/or McTigue at various times as a “Note Tender Agreement” (NTA), EFT Tender Agreement, or “Mortgage Satisfaction Agreement” (MSA). The EFT Tender Agreement, NTA and/or MSA falsely represented that a valid “negotiable instrument” or promissory note had been sent to the lender in the approximate amount of the outstanding mortgage liens. The documents contained language stating that, in the event the bank holding the mortgage failed to acknowledge and respond to the conditions in the “agreement” within a specified period of time (usually three days), Melton and/or McTigue, or others, would become authorized to act as representatives of the financial institutions holding the mortgage, and the bank would acquiesce to them performing acts on behalf of the lender, including the right to “execute and record a satisfaction of Lien for mortgages.”
After filing the false documents with the Bureau of Conveyances, the three then proceeded to sell the properties to unsuspecting buyers as “free and clear” of all debt, and pocketed the money that should have gone to pay off the outstanding mortgage loans.
In court filings, Mctigue, who is representing herself, argued that the U.S. government has no jurisdiction over her because of the “illegal” overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom. Her long, rambling motion to dismiss the case on this basis was rejected by the court in no uncertain terms.
Memo to file: If you’re really in trouble, don’t try to rely on the sovereignty defense. It doesn’t work. Trust me.
It isn’t clear just what kind of ties McTigue has to the Sovereign Citizen Movement beyond using paperwork generated by the right-wing, anti-government group.
But federal authorities warn McTigue has ties to an anti-government group known as the Sovereign Citizen Movement.
It is the same group they believe helped another Honolulu couple flee the state just before they were to be sentenced in a mortgage fraud case.
John and Julie Dimitrion have been on the lam for the last five years.
Simon said that’s why they are wary of McTigue’s disappearance.
“Members of that movement charted a plane to the mainland for them to escape justice. We hope we have been able to get on this Jennifer McTigue thing before anyone does that with her. But that said, you don’t have to be James Bond to leave Hawaii so it’s entirely possible she has left,” Simon said.
And several people convicted in a Maui debt elimination scheme grounded in Hawaiian sovereignty claims used similar kinds of paperwork in their scam (see “On scams and the sovereignty narrative“).
This also put the group on the radar of the Anti-Defamation League, which mentioned the Hawaii case in an overview of the Sovereign Citizen Movement (“The Lawless Ones: The Resurgence of the Sovereign Citizen Movement“).
In late 2008, the FBI began investigating a mortgage elimination ring that charged victims between $2,500 and $10,000 to attend seminar and meetings where people were given special $1 million “Royal Hawaiian Treasury Bonds” that they could allegedly use to pay off their mortgages (a sovereign citizen tactic dating back to the 1980s), though they would have to make payments to the mortgage elimination ring for a while. Of course, the bonds turned out to be worthless.
So the McTigue case is just another indication of the dangerous cross-over between groups like the Sovereign Citizen Movement and various parts of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
One sad note. On May 22, 2015, McTigue’s father agreed to stand behind the $50,000 unsecured appearance bond originally co-signed by her former husband, court records show. I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of how this bond process works, but it looks like McTigue’s disappearance could result in her father having to forfeit the $50,000 bond amount.