Plea entered by man who threatened Voorhees judge

Posted: August 08, 2014

A man who identified with an extremist group that does not recognize governmental authority admitted in court Wednesday that he filed false liens against public officials and sent an e-mail to a municipal judge threatening financial ruin.

Michael Rinderle, 29, of Waukesha, Wis., has renounced the "sovereign citizen" movement, his lawyer said.

Rinderle pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Camden to a charge of threats and other improper influence in official and political matters and four counts of retaliation against a public official for past official conduct.

In return, he was sentenced to five years in state prison. He is being held in the Camden County Jail and will receive credit for time served beginning in late June.

Adherents of the sovereign citizen movement do not recognize the authority of federal, state, or municipal law. The FBI considers them part of a domestic terrorist movement. They are not anarchists, according to the FBI, but reject governmental authority.

Rinderle, whose name also has been spelled Rinderele in court documents, was living in Medford Lakes with his wife, Joann Ellis, when she was stopped multiple times in the region in January 2013 for violations including driving with a suspended license and failure to register a vehicle. After Ellis was taken into custody, Rinderle e-mailed a Voorhees municipal judge on Sept. 26, 2013, attempting to get the charges dropped by threatening financial ruin.

The judge immediately charged him with threatening a public servant. Rinderle then filed a series of false liens against the judge and 27 other public officials, he admitted in court.

Those liens totaled more than $41 million, including $34,196,000 that Rinderle requested be paid to him in silver dollars. He knew the liens were false and illegal, he said in court.

He was charged April 1, and the liens were lifted. Rinderle was extradited this summer from Pennsylvania, where he pleaded guilty in Dauphin County to a charge of eluding police.

Rinderle, who sat quietly in the courtroom Wednesday, softly answering the judge's questions, has distanced himself from his previous beliefs, his lawyer said. "I think he realizes the error of his ways and all the destruction and damage he's caused to the people that he's affected," said Connor Morris, Rinderle's lawyer.

"From the moment I was contacted by him and his family, they told me that they were ready to accept responsibility, move on with the case, that they weren't going to raise anything having to do with any of the sovereign citizen stuff," Morris said. "And since that moment, I've never had any period of time where he's ever wavered in terms of his willingness to accept responsibility and move on with the case."


jlai@phillynews.com

856-779-3220 @elaijuh

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