James McBride, 60, the leader of the sovereign citizen group
Divine Province, contended that the U.S. government was a "municipal
corporation" that did not have authority over the group's members,
the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said
in a statement late on Wednesday.
A U.S. District Court jury in Alexandria, Virginia, found McBride
guilty on Wednesday of conspiracy, causing the impersonation of a
diplomat and producing false identification documents, the U.S.
attorney's statement said. He faces up to 35 years in prison.
McBride, of Columbus, Ohio, sold the identification documents to
Divine Province members, charging $200 for a set of two. One
identified the holder as a “Universal Post Office Diplomat” and
another was an “International Diplomatic Driver Permit,” the
He claimed his authority to issue the IDs came from the Vatican.
McBride also sold the ID cards online and shipped them throughout
the United States. Divine Province earned close to $500,000 from the
sales, according to the U.S. attorney's statement.
“This is my mission in life; that’s why I’m here,” McBride said in
an interview with ABC News in April 2013. He said his only objective
was “world peace.”
[to top of second column]
“I’ve been stopped five or six times, and every time, they give me
my driver’s license back and they say, ‘Have a good day. Please slow
down,’” McBride told ABC News.
McBride started selling the identification cards in September 2012.
(Reporting by Lacey Johnson; Editing by Ian Simpson and Jan Paschal)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.