Piper Glen squatter case shows court concerns

Piper Glen squatter case shows court concerns

. - The house on Kelly Woods Lane in Piper Glen is back on the market and under contract a week after an accused squatter was convicted in court of several charges.

The price is nearly $300,000 less than the property tax value, which is likely a reflection of its foreclosure status and the legal battle over ownership.

A woman named Ninti El-Bey claimed to own the house through documents she said gave her authority under her status as a member of the Moorish Nation.

El Bey came to court with a stack of papers and a plan to prove ownership during her trial last week at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. She faced several charges, including trespassing and breaking and entering.

Her documents may have been legally meaningless, but the court process was real.

"I am following the laws, just because they don't know the laws in which I stand, they will soon find out," said El-Bey, talking about court officials at a previous hearing.

Instead, her defense failed after a six-month court battle and a six-hour trial.

"It's definitely a burden on a system that is already over burdened," said Court Administrator Charles Keller.

Keller says court officials receive state training on how to handle what some call "paper terrorism" by defendants who claim to be a sovereign citizen, often members of the Moorish Nation.

He says cases come up at least once a week. Often they involve petty charges and huge amount of paperwork. One person even wrote a letter demanding a fee of $10,000 a day for jury duty.

"They all pretty much share the same ideology that they do not recognize state, federal, or local government as having any type of authority over them," says Keller.

They all have documents with official looking seals, fingerprints and stamps. Often are filed by the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds, as part of the process.

In 2015, at least 125 documents got the official stamp. However, the stamp doesn't mean the documents stand up to a legal test in court. Judge Donnie Hoover pointed out the legal hurdle to El-Bey during her trial.

All along, El-Bey claimed the courts had no authority over her actions. Yet, she tried to work within a system she says she doesn't believe in, to try and beat it.

Sovereign citizens are known to file false liens on property. In North Carolina, there is a recent state law protecting law enforcement and public employees from liens filed by sovereign citizens. The crime is a felony.

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