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Author of threatening writs revealed, but still no action from law enforcement

Phony writs like this one were sent to dozens of officials across Western North Carolina. Cory Vaillancourt photo Phony writs like this one were sent to dozens of officials across Western North Carolina. Cory Vaillancourt photo

She’s “served” threatening letters on elected officials offering bounties for their capture, she has plans to serve more and she’s calling for the overthrow of the United States government with help from the U.S. military, but the most significant remaining questions aren’t about the radicalization of a Haywood County woman behind the phony writs — they’re about how and when law enforcement agencies will respond, if at all.

Crowdsourcing the Conspiracy 

In late June, some elected officials, judges and municipal employees across Western North Carolina began receiving strange sets of official-looking paperwork emanating from a phony court that had judged them guilty of treason for environmental crimes. 

The letters, fashioned to resemble a writ demanding the satisfaction of this felony judgement, offer a substantial reward for the capture of those who don’t surrender. 

A mid-August investigation into the writs by The Smoky Mountain News revealed that generic copies of the writs are available on the website of a group called “The People’s Bureau of Investigation,” which can be traced back to Tim Dever, an Oswego, Illinois man who operates an arcade gaming sales and repair company.  

Dever told SMN he believes the writs to be lawful. 

The PBI website contains instructions on how anyone, anywhere, can “serve” the fill-in-the-blanks “writs,” which supposedly bring compensation of $2,000 for each one served. 

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The website also contains a self-reporting database of who’s been served. As of Aug. 16, almost 1,000 writs had been sent to public servants of all political persuasions in 41 states and the District of Columbia. 

Only residents of three states, California, Florida and Oregon, had been targeted more often than residents of North Carolina, according to the database. 

Of the 60-plus North Carolina writs, more than half were sent to public servants with connections to Haywood County. 

Included were the district attorney, three judges, the county sheriff and chief deputy, the entire school board and its attorney, every elected official from the Town of Waynesville and three public works employees, two county commissioners, Canton’s mayor, the chairman of the board of elections and a pair of administrators at Haywood Regional Medical Center. 

Others went to the mayor of Sylva, some Asheville and Buncombe County officials, Henderson County’s sheriff, several state supreme court justices and a number of current or former judges in and around Mecklenburg County. 

The Smoky Mountain News spoke with two recipients of the writ and was permitted by a third to examine the writ they’d been sent. 

At least two writs featured photographs of the intended recipient, with at least one bearing the caption, “wanted dead or alive,” according to a source. 

The writs appeared to have been faxed anonymously, although one of them was signed, “ThankQ.”

Throughout the SMN investigation, one name kept coming up; according to another source, it was a person purportedly familiar to local law enforcement. 

Last week, through an anonymous tip, that name was finally confirmed.  

Digital Soldier 

Darris Moody was more than willing to discuss the writs she’d served when reached by The Smoky Mountain News on Sept. 2. 

“I have to admit that I’ve served a few, because my name was on it and it wasn’t supposed to be,” Moody said. “That’s very, very, very unfortunate because these are coming from ‘the people,’ and I’m just one of the people.”

Moody lives in a world of red pills and blue pills — not actual pills, but rather internet parlance for truth and ignorance, respectively. During a 50-minute phone conversation, she checked off nearly every single box on a long list of QAnon-style conspiracy theories. 

She’s concerned about socialism, communism, chemtrails, weather modification and satanic pedophile cults that traffic children for their organs. 

She believes that COVID-19 is a psy-op, that the vaccine is a bioweapon and that masks are a tactic of the deep state, worn to obscure the very image of God. 

She bandies about faerie-tale talking points from self-proclaimed “sovereign citizens.”

She claims that upon birth Americans are transformed or absorbed into a corporate entity and then are bonded, insured and controlled by the New World Order. 

She espouses support for Christian nationalism, maritime admiralty law and the so-called constitutional sheriffs movement.  

She promotes the idea that actor Tom Hanks is somehow part of it all, and that President Joe Biden isn’t “the real Biden” but has instead been replaced by a body double. 

“Anybody can go look at pictures of him,” Moody said. “It ain’t the real one.”

Of course, she learned all this on the internet. 

“I’m a digital soldier,” Moody said. “Over the past two years, I have done nothing but study, pray, cry and fight in this war while everybody else sat in front of Fox News and wore their mask and bowed down to somebody other than God. I don’t bow down to nobody but God.”

While she said she hasn’t been contacted about the writs by law enforcement — they have no jurisdiction over her anyway, she claims — Moody has had brushes with them in the past. Moody said that In May of this year, she was “thrown out” of Haywood Regional Medical Center because she wouldn’t wear a mask. 

“I didn’t wear one because I have corrected my status. I’m not in the corporation. I’m on common law. I’m not in the corporation. I’ve completely come out of that. I’m just a woman on common law. I have guaranteed rights. I have unalienable rights,” Moody said. “I didn’t realize the hospital was a corporation, so they tell me, ‘Well, you’re on private property,’ and I said, ‘Well, you are acting as a legal public place to walk in.’”

After the incident, Moody took to social media platform Telegram and said she’d been attacked. Users there pointed her to The People’s Bureau of Investigation. 

“I think the military needs to set up law and order. They need to come in, and we need to get back to law and order in this country because the police, they’ve gone crazy. They think they have some kind of authority over us. As far as this masking and stuff, and I think COVID, [they were] for a purpose,” she said. “It was to wake people up, you know? America is very, very uneducated.”

Moody also claims that when COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the brief closure of her church for in-person worship, she was harassed by police after someone reported her for violating social distancing guidelines on the lawn outside. 

“You want to know why I serve writs? My rights have been infringed upon, as has every other person,” Moody said. “If you only knew what the government has been doing to the people for 150 years, since they put us in that corporation, USA, Inc. They also stole our birth certificates, by the way. And I mean, this is all out there.”

It is out there — on a network of websites and social media platforms cited by Moody that offer similar claims and similar “writs” to those found on the PBI’s website. 

“I have a lot of respect and integrity, I think, in this county,” said Moody, a former property appraiser. “I ran a small business and I closed it. It was just time for me to close and not renew my license and fight in this war. I have spent two years studying and learning the truth.”

Along with her husband Charles Elbert Moody, she’s also spent time filing scads of affidavits and other documents in the county’s register of deeds office, costing her dozens if not hundreds of dollars each. 

One of them informs the Tennessee County of Sevier that her marriage license is void because the state “is in breach of contract for not guaranteeing a republic form of government.” Another informs U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that she’s no longer a citizen of the United States. Yet another informs U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that she won’t be paying taxes anymore. 

Per Haywood County tax records, after at least a decade of regular property tax payments, Darris and Charles Elbert Moody haven’t yet paid their most recent bill for any of the three properties they own together or separately. The bills were due on Sept. 1 and won’t become delinquent until Jan. 5, 2023. 

Moody called her efforts “trailblazing,” although she hasn’t yet received the promised $2,000 stipends for the writs she’s already served. 

“It’s really not about the money. We don’t get those until the process is completely through, and of course nobody’s responding because everybody thinks it’s a hoax,” Moody said. 

When asked if she was actively trying to collect the much larger bounties for apprehending people who’d been served, or encouraging others to do so, Moody didn’t answer directly but reiterated that none of this was about money. She equated it to a citizen’s arrest. 

“We the people have every right in the world to arrest or fire our employees, our public servants, so I don’t know why everybody’s shocked that all these people in the jurisdiction of the water admirable [sic] law are getting rich from people that are on common law,” Moody said. 

Although the writs don’t seem to be having much of an effect on encouraging the removal of elected officials she deems complicit in various crimes, Moody said that there are other methods to accomplish that.

“I mean, the way they done it back in the old days is we formed a militia and there was 12 people that formed a militia back in the old days,” she said. “I mean, if we the people want ‘em gone, what are we gonna have to do? We the people, we’re restoring the republic. We’re not a democracy. This country is a republic and we were founded on the Bible, whether anybody likes to admit it or accept it or like it, I do not care — facts are facts.”

According to Moody, “restoring the republic” could involve some pretty drastic measures. 

“The big thing is, we’ve all got to come together and just take this government down, is the way I see it,” Moody said. “The Constitution says we have the right and the duty when they become corrupt to abolish them and put in new. We’ve called in the military because the military is gonna have to help us and they will. I’m waiting to see them helicopters fly over my house and I’m gonna praise God.”

Some of the recipients of the writs told The Smoky Mountain News that they felt threatened by the language in them and were concerned about their safety. When informed of those concerns, Moody brushed them aside. 

“Well, didn’t none of them sign the writ,” she said. “They don’t seem to be serious about trying to fix things.”

Slowly Boiling Water 

According to the PBI’s database, the majority of writs served on Haywood County officials came between late June and mid-July. 

Until the publication of an Aug. 16 story in The Smoky Mountain News, the vast majority of the public was unaware of the threats — but local and federal law enforcement wasn’t. 

The first two writs served were to Haywood Sheriff Greg Christopher and Chief Deputy Jeff Haynes on June 24. 

On the morning of Aug. 12, Christopher confirmed to SMN that he had indeed received one of the writs, via fax, and forwarded the matter on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Others in the county who were served with writs also notified Christopher. 

When SMN made a public records request that morning for the writ served to Christopher, a spokesperson said that the sheriff’s office would not provide the writ, and referred all future communications to the FBI. 

Hours later, Shelley Lynch, a public affairs specialist with the FBI’s Charlotte division, told SMN that the FBI has been in “regular contact” with elected officials in Haywood County. 

But it doesn’t seem that way — one person who received a writ and spoke to SMN on the condition of anonymity in mid-August expressed frustration that they hadn’t heard from the FBI, even weeks after forwarding the writ on to Christopher. 

Citing U.S. Department of Justice policy, Lynch wrote that she couldn’t provide additional details on the situation, but also said that “we want to remind the public the FBI takes seriously any allegation that individuals may engage in criminal activity against elected and appointed officials.”

Another anonymous source who received a writ likened the situation to a pot of slowly boiling water, and wondered if law enforcement would step in before the pot boils over. 

An Aug. 12 email to State Bureau of Investigation PIO Anjanette Grube has not yet been returned, nor has an Aug. 12 call to the U.S. Secret Service. 

The Smoky Mountain News made another public records request on Aug. 29 for the writs served to Christopher and Haynes. Christopher said he had forwarded the request to Lynch, and that Lynch had in turn forwarded the request to the U.S. Attorney’s PIO Lia Bantavani. 

When pressed, Haywood County Attorney Frank Queen cited North Carolina General Statute 132-1.4(a), which states, “Records of criminal investigations conducted by public law enforcement agencies, records of criminal intelligence information compiled by public law enforcement agencies, and records of investigations conducted by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, are not public records as defined by G.S. 132-1.”

However, further down in that statute, at subsection (f), it states that “The use of a public record in connection with a criminal investigation or the gathering of criminal intelligence shall not affect its status as a public record.”

The Smoky Mountain News maintains that the writs became public records the instant they were received by the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. 

“The Sheriff, the U.S. Attorney and I will have to review the records request you have made, determine to what degree the records you have requested are ‘records of criminal investigations’ and what are not,” Queen said. “As soon as we make that analysis, we will make arrangements with you to make the disclosures you have requested, to the extent legally possible.”

When asked on Sept. 1 if she could confirm or deny a criminal investigation into the writs, Lynch said only that there had been no change in Department of Justice policy. 

As of press time on Sept. 6, the public records requested still had not been produced. The Smoky Mountain News has contacted attorneys for the North Carolina Press Association for guidance on how to proceed with the public records request. 

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