According to Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds, two self-proclaimed “sovereign citizens” are each facing up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for trying to take control of homes they did not own in Fulton, DeKalb and Forsyth counties.
Jurors took about four hours on Friday to convict Susan Lorraine Weidman, 52, of Kennesaw, of three counts of RICO violations, and Matthew Lowery, 29, of Alpharetta, on two RICO violations.
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin, who prosecuted the case, said: “The ludicrous ‘explanations’ these defendants gave for going
into vacant houses and trying to claim them as their own defies common
sense, and the jurors saw that. Ms. Weidman went so far as to create a
fictitious law firm and assume fake names.
"If she believed what she was doing was legal, as she claimed, she wouldn’t have to lie about it. This verdict should send a message to all sovereign citizens: Don’t commit your crimes in Cobb County.”
In one instance, Weidman entered a vacant home at 130 Champlain Street in Decatur, changed the locks, and then filed false documents with the Clerk of Superior Court in DeKalb to claim the property. She then lied to law enforcement officers investigating the case.
Lowery and others also occupied a house on Shade Tree Way in Cumming and when challenged by a real-estate firm representing the bank owner, Weidman sent a letter from a nonexistent law firm and signed by a nonexistent lawyer on behalf of a nonexistent property-management firm threatening legal action if agents entered the property again.
Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole set sentencing for 1:30 p.m. March 7.
District Attorney Vic Reynolds lauded the exhaustive time and effort put into the prosecution by Deputy Chief ADA John Melvin, as well as the efforts of the judge and jurors.
“These convictions send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated in Cobb County,” Reynolds said. “The District Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute any individuals who commit theft of any sort in our county.”In January, a Kennesaw father and son who were indicted with Ms. Weidman and Mr. Lowery pleaded guilty in the case. Giulio Glenn Greye, 61, was sentenced to five years, with two years to serve in prison. Ian Greye, 34, was sentenced to 10 years, with two years to serve in prison.
- Cobb County District Attorney's Office supplied information for this report that was edited for publication.