Monthly Archives: May 2011

Can You Be Prosecuted for Using Gold or Silver? – Liberty Dollar by Bill Rounds

The Liberty Dollar case has had a huge impact on the world of gold and silver trading, investing, ownership and use. I covered a lot of ground in Part I and Part II, but there is another important aspect of that case that leaves the legal landscape partly shrouded in ominous and threatening clouds. What is the risk of criminal prosecution or criminal conviction to those who make or use gold and silver rounds of “original design”?

Is There A Risk Of Prosecution For Trading With Gold And Silver

To answer that, we have to fully understand the actual law that was broken. We also need to consider the existing law that was not at issue in the Liberty Dollar case, the threats of prosecutors and the effect of potential constitutional challenges to those laws if a prosecution were undertaken.

Mr. von NotHaus Violated Fraud Based Statutes

The Liberty Dollar Trial was about fraud, not a private currency system as prosecutor Anne Tomkins falsely implied. The jury was asked to decide if the elements of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud were met, nothing else. No other legal basis for the prosecution was ever presented to the jury and implying that there was another legal basis is mis-stating the facts of the case.

Critical Facts of The Case

Liberty Dollar made, sold, and used rounds that had many similarities to official US government coinage. The rounds were minted with a face value but the FRN value of the silver in the coins was less than this face value. Liberty Dollar encouraged exchanging Liberty Dollars with people who were unaware that the underlying FRN value of the silver was less than the denomination minted on its face. Liberty Dollar profited from this difference in value.

via Can You Be Prosecuted for Using Gold�or�Silver? – Liberty�Dollar by Bill Rounds.

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Seth Lipsky: When Private Money Becomes a Felony Offense – WSJ.com

The next chapter in the struggle over sound money may be the case of a newly minted felon named Bernard von NotHaus. Mr. von NotHaus was convicted this month of counterfeiting money by issuing silver coins called Liberty Dollars. His company’s website says it’s been taken down by court order, and absent a successful appeal he could spend years in jail.

Mr. von NotHaus was convicted under a section of the United States Code that makes it a crime to manufacture or pass “any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design.” The law was enacted during the Civil War, soon after the Union began issuing the paper scrip known as greenbacks.

It is too soon to say what Mr. von NotHaus’s grounds of appeal will be, but it is not too soon to say that his case will be one to watch at a time when so many believe our economic troubles are tied to the fact that the dollar has become a fiat currency, and when leaders world-wide are calling for a new reserve currency.

So alarming has been the collapse of the dollar that the legislatures in as many as a dozen American states are considering using their authority—under Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution—to make legal tender out of gold and silver coins. Lest the ghost of Friedrich Hayek or any other advocate of privately issued money get any bright ideas, however, the von NotHaus verdict will stand as a warning.

The warning is contained in paragraph 33 of the indictment handed up against Mr. von NotHaus in a courtroom at Statesville, N.C. It said:

“Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the power to coin money and to regulate the value thereof. This power was delegated to Congress in order to establish a uniform standard of value. Along with the power to coin money, Congress has the concurrent power to restrain the circulation of money not issued under its own authority, in order to protect and preserve the constitutional currency for the benefit of the nation. Thus, it is a violation of law for private coin systems to compete with the official coinage of the United States.”

via Seth Lipsky: When Private Money Becomes a Felony Offense – WSJ.com.

Square’s Disruptive New iPad Payments Service Will Replace Cash Registers

Mobile payments startup Square is announcing big numbers today—500,000 Square card readers shipped, 1 million Square transactions in May, and the startup is now processing $3 million in mobile payments per day. Clearly the company is on a roll in terms of traction and usage. And CEO Jack Dorsey is also revealing the next generation of Square. And Square is about to get a whole lot more disruptive.Today, Dorsey is revealing Square Register, a high-powered point of sale replacement for cash registers and point of sale terminals. And the company is taking it one step further for consumers by launching the Square Card Case, a way for purchasers to access a local merchants’ goods, prices, location, loyalty card and more.For background, Square offers an iPhone, Android and iPad app which allows merchants to process and manage credit card transactions with a handy little credit card swiping device that plugs into the headset/microphone jack. The device and service is the brainchild of Twitter co-founder and recently appointed product lead Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. And Square recently raised $27.5 million in new funding, and announced a strategic investment from credit card company Visa. In Q1, Square did $66 million in payment volume the company expected $40 million and is now in track to process $1 billion in payment volume within a year.

via Square’s Disruptive New iPad Payments Service Will Replace Cash Registers.