Tag Archives: Bills of Exchange

Were Bank – Peter of England and his fake bank scam. 

Peter of England Goodf Interview So it has been some time since I have written on the OPCA movement. Real legal work has taken up a lot of my time. But a new development has caught my eye which is worthy of attention.

Peter of England (aka Alan Peter Michael Smith and variants thereof) is a fairly long-standing OPCA guru. Unusually he [claims] to be legally qualified (LLB) and has a slightly vague background including military service and running an investment software company.

Peter has launched various endeavours and his Freeman Legal Services is probably deserving of a post on its own but today I’m going to touch on his “Bank” Were Bank.

Apparently going for some time as part of Peter’s Re Movement the Were Bank has recently hit its stride and now claims hundreds of members.

Joining is simple. Pay £10 per month via Paypal (selecting the family and friends option so there are no charges for the seller and no refunds) and pay £25 for your very own RE cheque book complete with Allonges. You also have to lodge a £150,000 promissory note as some sort of collateral. Although Peter also has other “assets” in the form of bonds and his own 1% transaction tax.

The cheque books are fairly convincing and obviously professional printed but appear to be identical, lacking an account holders name, unique account number or valid sort code. Indeed the sort code appears to be Smith’s date of birth in reverse.

The allonge is a curious idea borrowed misleadingly from Section 32(1) Bills of Exchange Act 1882. From the French allonger (to lengthen) an allonge is a slip of paper annexed to a negotiable bill of exchange if there is not room on the back to write all the indorsements and are then deemed to be written on the bill itself.  Peter’s use of the allonge seems to be to add a layer of confusion as to why the cheque should be accepted.

The Bank has been heavily promoted by Ceylon, Get out of debt free and Peter of England’s site and Facebook page and he has had numerous sign ups from the credulous and desperate.

Peter’s motto of “Don’t fight it, just pay it!” is obviously appealing to OPCA followers who have failed to discharge various debts using the myriad of other process on goodf and elsewhere.

Facebook and Goodf shows that various people have signed up and jumped in at the deep end “paying off” mortgages, council tax bill, credit cards, legal aid bills and utilities. Some have written cheques for £120,000 to clear a mortgage whereas others have started small with buying a TV Licence.

Peter’s bank and his cheques are, in my view, fundamentally flawed on a number of levels. Aside from the technical difficulties which mean they will be unable to clear in the standard electronic clearing system. Peter’s bank has a number of legal issues.

  1. Peter’s institution is not a bank in that it is not regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. If Peter is carrying on business without regulation could constitute criminal offence under Section 23 carrying a 2 year prison sentence as well as possible civil remedies for those affected.
  2. The printing, possession and use of the cheques is, in my view, likely to constitute both Criminal and Civil fraud if my understanding of how the cheques work is correct. The Fraud Act 2006 contains various criminal offences including Section 6 Possession etc. of articles for use in frauds, Section 7 Making or supplying articles for use in frauds and of course Section 2 Fraud by false representation.  In cheque type cases the false representation is that the cheque is genuine and would be honoured by being paid by the bank.  Some of Peter’s customers might be able to escape fraud charges if they can show that they didn’t knows that the representation (eg paying with a Were Cheque) is, or might be, untrue or misleading. Actual knowledge that the representation might be untrue is required not awareness of a risk that it might be untrue. Incidentally Peter mentions the cheques were printed by Communisis. Especially interesting as Communisis are an accredited printer
  3. It appears the cheques will not be cleared. Even on Peter’s own case it is unclear if he intends or has the means of paying the cheques if and when payment is demanded. It is equally unclear if he intends to pay in pounds or in his own Re Unit currency.
  4. Payment by cheque could easily reset any possible statute barred debts as they would likely constitute acknowledging the existence of a debt in writing.
  5. Paying for something by cheque engages the “cheque rule” which means writing a cheque is an unconditional promise to pay irrespective of the underlying contract. If a cheque bounces the aggrieved party has two options, to sue under the contract for non-payment or to sue on the cheque for failing to pay on demand, often a swifter process and affording no real defence.

Unsurprisingly Peter’s scheme has already started to go awry.

Initial excitement developed when balances were zeroed on some accounts, although any user of cheques will know that until the 6 day clearing period is up it is common for cheques to be credited only for the balance to be reversed later down the line.


Soon the negative reports started coming in:

“Emily Love-Light D
30 April 13:05
Hi Peter, Barclaycard have called again and said I’ve been issues with fraudulent cheques from their intelligence. He won’t say what it is. And he said he’s called were bank. I asked what makes him think it’s fraudulent and does her know where Barclays funds originate from! He early doesn’t know it’s the federal reserve. But they’re saying they will dishonour the cheque”

“Benjamin L
1 May 09:30
Morning again. It looks like natwest are not accepting them. Had a look this morning at my credit card online and the payment is showing but the balance has changed back to what it was, unlike yesterday when it was showing a zero balance. What do u think is happening?”

“Cindy H
2 May at 00:15
 Benjamin this is similar to my experience. I got a message in my account (and a letter) saying the account was now paid in full. Then I noticed another message this morning saying ‘unpaid cheque’. I think the bank accepts the cheque and then it gets stopped at clearing cos of the sort code. They don’t seem to be using the clearing hotline”

 


Peter has become increasingly angry:

 “TROLLS – SHILLS – IDIOTS – THE DOWNRIGHT STUPIDLY MISCHIEVIOUS, ignoramuses AND THOSE NEGATIVELY PRE-DISPOSED TOWARDS THAT WHICH WE ARE DOING, WILL BE BANNED FROM THE PAGE. IF THEY DON’T AGREE THEN THEY STAY AWAY AND SHOULD FIND SOME INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED PAGE COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR PRONOUNCED PREDISPOSITION TOWARDS THEIR MASTERS OF THE NWO WHICH THEY SERVE WITH BLIND BLANKED MIND IGNORANCE”

4 May at 12:59 · 

SEVERAL MEMBERS HAVE “COMPLAINED” saying they have been accused of FRAUD or have been told the cheque is “fraudulent”. This is nonsense and can easily be disproved, but look at it from the bankers POV. This word is inappropriately used. 

They [our ReMembers] are NOT helping their own cause or case as they ReFuse to follow the BIBLE = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth and they have & continue to make errors, which aren’t too serious BUT cause confusion in the minds of the bank clerks and clearers.
Upon speaking to them [ReMembers] and asking the following questions they reply often as follows and some have MADE EVERY SINGLE MISTAKE BELOW ON THE SAME PRESENTMENT!!

  1. Did you sign the cheque on the back = YES = MISTAKE

2.Did you make it payable to the entity asking for the money? NO= MISTAKE

  1. Did you make it payable to the POST OFFICE? YES= MISTAKE
  2. Have you tried to pay it into your own account or an account in your name? YES= MISTAKE

5.Did you attach an allonge to your cheque or enclose one? NO = MISTAKE

 7 May at 19:19 · 

OH…How they winge!!! FIRST THE WINGE AND THEN MY REPLY BELOW…

Hi Peter,

I know you’re busy and under pressure and I’m not being rude but I am being asked questions all the time. Get out of Debt Free members are also getting restless too.

Unfortunately a lot of people are concerned as they are not seeing any results at the moment and don’t know if cheques have been honoured, as there is no way of checking what is going on. How long is it going to be before the site has access to internet banking?

If you need help this weekend I can make myself available to you for a few hours to help with the back log. I know you have the meeting on the 23rd but that is a long way off and then there is going to be the period of set up too.

Can you let me know what is going on so I can let the others know?

Many thanks 
Much is happening I don’t have time to comment on it all.Several people have confirmed that their accounts have been CONFIRMED TO ZERO.

Others have said accounts were zeroed and then a week later re-adjusted back.You must decide the legality of that – if you acted upon it…they have a fiduciary liability to provide “accurate accounting!”

Others say that their bank has said that they phoned WeRe Bank and “we” refused to clear the cheque. Utter rubbish! And common sense says there could be no truth in this and we would gain nothing!

Others (bank operatives) say it’s FRAUD and there is no money to clear the cheques and they(the DRAWER , er you) have therefore been duped!

Now, Let’s get a few things straight for the ReCord, should we!

I have led you towards the “”Promissory Note Land”” but you too have got to get a grip of yourselves and fight for what YOU CLAIM THE CHEQUES TO BE nothing short of your inheritance:

Post this on GOODF:
1. If you have stapled an Allonge to the cheque…
2. If you have NOT signed it on the back….
3. If you have NOT made it payable to SELF/CASH or your own company or a friend…
4. If they have zeroed your account and then re-adjusted it
5. If they say WeRe Bank refused to clear it or that you have been duped etc….
6. If they claim fraud etc…..
7. And you have made Notarial Protest….

THEN YOU CONTACT THEM BY LETTER, RECORDED DELIVERY, AND STATE THAT YOU NEED THEM TO CONFIRM IN WRITING THE TIME AND DATE AT WHICH THEY CONTACTED US [WeRe Bank] under full commercial liability and penalty of perjury] AND TO STATE IN A FEW LINES WHO MADE THE CALL OR WHO WILL CONFIRM IT IN COURT & WHY THEY CLAIM THERE ARE NO FUNDS AVAILABLE AS YOU ARE CONSIDERING BRING LEGAL ACTION……not against THEM but against:……

WeRe Bank…and you are calling them as a witness for the PROSECUTION….Ok?

So, now off with the wingeing and on with the battle – what did you expect? For the enemy just to roll over and play dead – after thousands of years of domination?

Man up – all of you, get some steel in your spines and on with the task

Peter

 


Paypal and Peter’s personal building society Nationwide have not taken matters lying down either.

Peter Of England
Just to let everyone know that I’m still alive, well and getting on with the decision for change….
1. PayPal have taken down the account and won’t communicate with me.
2. Nationwide B/Soc have disappeared my account and I can’t, as of 10am this morning, tell me why.
3. The website has been taken off line by someone transferring the site to elsewhere it has NOT been hacked
4. Much rumour travels faster than the speed of light – I’m not going anywhere and am pushing ahead with clearing your cheques and helping you towards a more free and equitable existence which all the critics wold with-hold from you. So if you find out who they are, if they ever dare show, then you’ll know what their intentions towards you are. Peter


Like many other OPCA schemes the only person benefiting in the medium to long term is going to be Peter who has no doubt made some serious money from this. As for his customers they are going to put themselves deeper in debt and at risk of criminal prosecution. Time will tell if the justice system will catch up with Mr Smith too, but like most failed schemes I have no doubt this will quietly slip from the radar in the next few weeks as things continue to unravel for Were Bank and its unfortunate victims / customers.


I’m grateful to members of Quatloos anti-fraud forum who drew my attention to Peter’s Bank and have written many wise and interesting things in the increasingly large thread dedicated to Peter here 

Common legal confusions

I’ve noticed a pattern of reoccurring errors in “legal advice” given on UK OPCA websites. These errors go beyond the legally incorrect underpinning theories discussed elsewhere and are erroneous regardless of whether or not you believe in Freeman / Sovereign Citizen legal ideas.   I thought I’d list a few here to get started and continue to update the post as I spot other errors.

Incorrect court

Many OPCA websites mention starting claims in the Magistrates’ Court. Aside from a few very limited exceptions this is not the correct venue. Magistrates deal with crimes, some family matters and a small handful of civil claims.

Most of the cases which are suggested as being suitable for the Magistrates’ Court in OPCA literature are in fact civil claims best commenced in the County Court or exceptionally the High Court.

Section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 retains the common law right for an individual or corporate body to make a private prosecution. These are commenced by serving an ‘information’ on the court (Criminal Justice Act 2003, s. 30(4)(b) and CrimPR, r. 7.2(1)). Various offenses are suggested as being appropriate for such a prosecution including fraud, and misconduct in public office. Potential DIY prosecutors should note the wide powers of the DPP to take over and shut down s. 42(1)(c) of the Senior Courts Act 1981. Furthermore the high standard of proof required for a private prosecutions makes it totally unsuitable for all but the most brazen crimes and not speculative accusations of fraud. Nor is the system suitable or permitted to be used as a threat to resolve a civil matter. If it is genuinely believed a crime has been committed as always the Police and regulatory bodies should always be the first point of call before attempting private criminal proceedings.

Mixing of English and Foreign law 

This is perhaps the most common error in OPCA litigation and advice. It can further be divided into two headings.

Confusion as to what constitutes US law

The North American flavor of OPCA legal theories combined with the eagerness to reproduce and adapt the templates of other gurus has led to a confusing blend of US and English law where the maker or user of the document is unaware of which areas are English or North American. The Goodf letters discussed elsewhere are typical of this and illustrate the problem well in that they ask for “Verification of your claim against me (a sworn affidavit or a hand signed invoice in accordance with The Bills of Exchange Act (1882))” which miraculously manages to switch from US to English law in mid sentence.

The same confusion in jurisdictions is evident in reliance on old editions of Black’s Law Dictionary, the freeman bible, which naturally does not apply to English law. An (up to date) dictionary such as Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary  or Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary would be far more useful, in so much as a dictionary helps with understanding complex legal issues.  

Belief that US law and English law are equally applicable. 

Even more preposterously, some OPCA enthusiasts, when confronted with evidence or assertions that the doctrines are based on US law seek to show that US law applies in England and Wales. This argument is most evident in debating if the Uniform Commercial Code (‘UCC’) applies in England. I have seem some Goodf members that the U stands for universal and is therefore binding in this jurisdiction. There are also confused and erroneous ideas relating to corporate listing in US directories and / or the inclusion of nation states in the listings of credit rating agencies. This has led to the bizarre and ill informed assertion that the UK and other nations are listed as a limited company within the US and hence under some sort of universal jurisdiction emanating from the USA.  It has also been suggested that the UK’s membership of standardization organisation UNIDROIT imparts some sort of universal legal code. Without going into these claims in detail it suffices to say that even a basic understanding of the differences betwen English and US law and the hierarchies between international and domestic laws dispels these theories conclusively.

More to follow

Bill of Exchange Part 1 of 2

OPCA / Freemen legal theories have a peculiar fascination with bills of exchange and have embraced the complex and ostensibly ambiguous wording of the Bills of Exchange Act to give a air of credibility to some of their legal strategies.

What is a bill of exchange?

Section 3 of the  act gives a  succinct definition.

 (1)A bill of exchange is an unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified person, or to bearer.

Bills of exchange traditionally have a significant role in financial services, especially on international negotiable instruments. The only time the average person will come into contact with any kind of bill of exchange in day to day life is cheques which are “a bill of exchange drawn on a banker payable on demand.” The other types of bills of exchange are in many ways becoming obsolete having been superseded by various types of electronic payments and alternative legal structures.

Bank notes issued by the Bank of England are specie of bill of exchange in that they are a promissory note drawn on the Bank of England payable on demand. The situation is somewhat obscured by the fact that such notes are deemed legal tender by statute (Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954 s1(2)) and can only be exchanged for Bank of England notes now that they are a fiat currency. Thus creating a somewhat confusing cyclic situation where money itself is a promissory note which must be paid in money.

 How do OPCA litigants use Bills of Exchange law?

For the purposes of this section I will be referring to the “three letter” process propagated by getoutofdebtfree.org although similar theories are widely available elsewhere.

OPCA litigants based in England and Wales tend to use the Bills of Exchange law in various ways and there is no uniform approach. The legislation and “common law” inspired by legislation has been applied both as a shield, in terms of disputing the validity of the debt, and a sword in terms of proactively attempting to discharge debts with promissory notes or indeed seeking to deposit homemade bills of exchange into bank accounts.  I will try and deal with each of these strategies in turn in separate posts but for the moment we will consider the general applicability of the Bills of Exchange act before moving on to promissory notes in general in a subsequent post.

The Goodf letter process is a good starting point. For those unfamiliar with the system, goodf provides a series of template letters which seek to help the user “get out of debt”.

The current version of the 3 letter process asks for (inter alia):

Verification of your claim against me (a sworn affidavit or a hand signed invoice in accordance with The Bills of Exchange Act (1882) );

 Firstly I am unable to find out what the reference to the Bill of Exchange act means. The is no provision for “hand signed invoice” or “sworn affidavits” anywhere in the act. My gut feeling on this is that this letter is a lazy copy from other fmotl websites. I have seen similar templates asking for  “a sworn affidavit in accordance with 28 USC § 1746”, request for valdation of the debt pursuant to 15 USC § 1692g or with a general reference to the Uniform Commercial Code. Indeed the USA version of the goodf letters appears to be virtually identical to the UK version but substituting English statutes for US Code. Much of the OPCA legal basis come from North America and in this instance it appears that an interpretation of US law has been carelessly adopted into the UK letters with the addition of the Bills of Exchange act to add credibility.

 Secondly, and even more significantly, there is a fundamental problem with referring to the loan itself as a bill of exchange. This is invasive throughout the Goodf community and deserves extended discussion.

 Despite assertions that the bills of exchange act applies to all loans, mortgages and financial agreements of any kind this can be easily rebutted.

 Firstly the Bills of Exchange act clearly describes applicable bills as being “unconditional” meaning that all loan agreements and mortgages would fall outside the act.

 Secondly In Sibree v Trip it was held the both parties must intend for the document to be a note in order for it to be treated as such (ie fall within the Bills of Exchange). In that case the note was found to be a loan agreement.

Per Pollock CB: “we cannot suppose that the legislature intended to prevent parties making written contracts relating to payment of money, other than bills and notes; and this appears to me to be merely an instrument recording the agreement of the parties…and to be rather an agreement than a promissory note.” And thus would fall outside if the act and into general contract law.

Likewise Claydon v Bradley [1987] highlights how the literal wording of the Bills of Exchange act could be misinterpreted: “If the statutory definition of a promissory note in section 83 of the Act of 1882 is applied literally, it would seemingly cover a range of documents which no one would ordinarily dream of regarding as promissory notes or bills of change or in any other way negotiable”

In that case the document was found by the court of appeal to be “no more than a receipt for money containing the terms on which the money was to be repaid [and] cannot have been intended to be negotiable”

Conclusions

The Bills of Exchange act is undoubtedly a complex piece of legislation especially for lay-persons. This complexity has facilitated exploitation of the act to further goodf arguments regarding various aspects of law, and giving a veneer of legal credibility to US legal principles which are not valid in England and Wales.  By obfuscating the legal arguments with appeal to the authority of legislation the OPCA litigants do not further their case as even superficial investigation of the Bills of Exchange Act clearly shows it does not apply to personal loans, overdrafts and similar personal debt.  As with other areas of law, OPCA gurus risk damaging their members’ genuine cases by discrediting the whole case with superfluous and incorrect legal claims.