SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A New Mexico man who was a federal fugitive after failing to show up for his sentencing in federal court in February in Sioux Falls finally learned his fate today.
Our KELOLAND News Investigation has been following the bizarre case of the “Silver Coin Schemers” for months. We’ve also uncovered that these same players smuggled millions of dollars of the Iraqi currency, dinar, into Canada, before being caught for their antics in the United States.
John Winer will go to prison for 22 years for roles in a $12 million international fraud case with victims in South Dakota and across the country.
You may remember that the case involved a mansion in Norway, millions of dollars in silver coins, and a sales pitch to victims appealing to Christian values. Winer told the judge in court he was a sovereign citizen and that the U.S. federal court had no jurisdiction over him. Prosecutors pointed out that Winer filed a 2019 tax return for $1 in order to get COVID-19 stimulus money
The judge called Winer’s manifesto gibberish and noted that the never showed any remorse for the millions he took from his victims, funneling it into the scheme and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on himself.
Criminal mastermind, Nathan Peachey, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. but KELOLAND Investigates has discovered that the silver coin scheme was not his first.
According to this 2016 article in the Canadian National Post, Peachey was a central figure in “The tale of a mysterious mound of Iraqi cash seized at the border, and the oddball cast that’s fighting for it.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police seized 24 boxes of Iraqi dinar worth more than $7 million at the Canadian/US border.
The driver of the vehicle was a former highway patrolman who told Canadian officers that he had joined a religious group called Jericho Outreach, which was run by Nathan Peachey.
Investor money was used to buy the dinars.
The article says the coins’ owners were traced back to Nathan Peachey, who lead a “sovereign citizen” group in the U.S., and the man who called himself “The General,” who was also charged in the silver coin investor scheme and presided over the Norwegian mansion. “The General,” or Lorin Rosier, died last year.
The National Post reports that Peachey unsuccessfully tried to get the millions in Iraqi currency back and in Canadian court filings said that his Noah’s Ark Foundation launched a “one-time special project” called the Dinar Exchange Project in August of 2012 among “various friends, relatives, and their friends and relatives and associates.”
Peachey represented himself in a Canadian court, much like he did here, in federal court at his February sentencing.
The Canadian government held onto the Iraqi dinars and at last report, still has them.
Meanwhile, Fredrick Arias, a former law enforcement officer remains on the FBI’s most-wanted list for his role in the silver coin case. The FBI believes he’s in Canada. The General’s wife, Lubova Burkute was extradited from Norway to Sioux Falls to also face charges in the silver coin case.