Jailed jeweler filing motions to harass man he defrauded (Not COS)

03 Jan 2001

Published Tuesday, January 2, 2001, in the Miami Herald

Jailed jeweler filing motions to harass man he defrauded

WEST PALM BEACH -- (AP) -- A jeweler who defrauded such people as golfer Jack Nicklaus has teamed up in prison with a right-wing extremist and is trying to use his fellow prisoner's tactics to harass his enemies, authorities and lawyers say.

Borrowing an idea from extremist LeRoy Schweitzer, jeweler Jack Hasson has filed bogus motions and liens in Circuit Court against retired developer and Detroit TV station owner Aben Johnson, from whom he stole $83 million, and Johnson's attorneys, authorities say. Both men are housed in a federal prison at Edgefield, S.C.

Schweitzer led the Montana Freemen, who used similar tactics to harass enemies and conned banks, businesses and public agencies out of $1.8 million by using bogus checks, liens and other legal maneuvers. When federal agents moved in to arrest the Freemen on a foreclosed Montana farm in 1996, a standoff ensued that lasted 81 days. The siege ended peacefully.

Court officials have refused to accept Hasson's motions.

``We have turned down a number of filings by Freemen,'' said Dorothy Wilken, Palm Beach County court clerk. ``Ordinarily, we don't have the right to pass judgment on what people try to make a part of the public record, but we take the position that if something is not a legal instrument . . . we won't put it in the public record.''

The Freemen called the Montana farm Justus Township. When Schweitzer signed Hasson's documents as a witness, he identified himself as ``Chief Justice . . . Justice's Court in and for Garfield County, Justus township, country of Montana.''

Hasson is serving a 40-year sentence following his conviction last year on fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.

He sold fake, altered and overpriced gems to Johnson, Nicklaus and others.

Schweitzer is serving a 22-year sentence for fraud, firearms violations, conspiracy and threatening public officials.

Hasson has also filed ``judgments'' of $1.5 billion against Johnson and $750 million each against his attorneys, Joe McSorley and Alan Mishael. He wants to be paid in gold or silver.

McSorley said Hasson's filings are the act of a ``vindictive, petty little man,'' and said he doesn't believe Hasson has adopted Schweitzer's beliefs.

``It's hard for me to see Jack Hasson ever subscribing to any organized belief system,'' McSorley said.

``This is an opportunity to attempt to inflict misery on those he blames for his predicament.''


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