A company that makes and distributes Liberty Dollar coins in various denominations has announced it is shut down – for now – after a raid by FBI and U.S. Secret Service agents in which documents, records, coins and gold and silver were confiscated.

Liberty Dollar produces and distributes the coins as “private voluntary barter currency,” or coins that compete with the Federal Reserve notes used in general economic circulation.

In a news release signed by Bernard von NotHaus, the “monetary architect” for the company in Evansville, Ind., officials announced yesterday “a dozen FBI and Secret Service agents” raided the office.

“For approximately six hours they took all the gold, all the silver, all the platinum, and almost two tons of Ron Paul Dollars that were just delivered last Friday. They also took all the files and computers and froze our bank accounts,” the letter said.

The Peace Dollar, by Liberty Dollar

“We have no money. We have no products. We have no records to even know what was ordered or what you are owed. We have nothing but the will to push forward and overcome this massive assault on our liberty and our right to have real money as defined by the U.S. Constitution,” it continued.

The company said it did not know when, if ever, it would be able to resume filling orders.

It also said a special website had been set up for those interested to “band together for a class-action suit.”

“We cannot allow the government to steal our money,” the letter said.

U.S. Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials both declined comment on the issue, referring WND to the U.S. Attorney’s office in North Carolina. There a spokeswoman told WND she had no information “on the public record” she could provide.

Asked if that meant something had occurred, but officials were withholding information, she responded, “Yes.”

Company information says Von NotHaus developed the Liberty Dollar in 1998 as an “inflation-proof” alternative currency to Federal Reserve Notes. The U.S. government, however, historically has taken a dim view of anything monetary that could be perceived as substituting for Federal Reserve Notes.

Authorities have attacked such alternatives as counterfeiting, while supporters of such bartering tool attack the Federal Reserve Notes as fakes.

That opinion was shared by Lance Haverkamp, who joined in a forum at the Courier-Press newspaper on the issue.

“Do you realize how stupid it is to say the green stuff is ‘real’ and the gold & silver is ‘fake’… You must work for the government!” he wrote.

The organization explained its position like this:

“It’s incredible how few people know the facts about the Federal Reserve. The organization chaired by Ben Bernanke is not ‘Federal’ – it is instead a cabal of private and international banks that does not answer to the United States government. And while there is some precious metal stored in Fort Knox, it doesn’t back the debt based ‘fiat’ U.S. dollar that they issue, because nothing backs it except your trust in the system! Even a casual look at the Fed’s history leads one to wonder how an institution that profits mightily from its own policies of victimizing Americans has maintained control over the money of the wealthiest nation on Earth. For those who have made a serious inquiry, the Federal Reserve is shadowed in deceptive origins and fraudulent policies.”

Its alternative is a series of coins made of precious metals that can be exchanged for an assigned dollar amount. Over its history, the company has produced the California Bear, Chambersburg Dollar, Evansville Dollar, Hawaii Dala, Peace Dollar and the new Ron Paul Dollar, among others.

The company claims legal opinions that its products are not illegal, and posts testimonies from those who have used the Liberties.

“I am writing this to Liberty Dollar in hopes that it can be used to help with support,” wrote a fan, M. Symonds, of Dallas, Texas, who reported using the coinage for $700 expenses on a trip to Austin.

“My entire trip was funded with The Liberty Dollar. It used it everywhere I went. … I am here to tell you that the major chains and businesses will accept them. Here is a list of some of the places I used them: Joe’s Fina Mart, Placido, Texas; James Texaco, Lolita, Texas; Jack In The Box, Austin, Texas; Chevron, Schulenburg, Texas; McDonalds, Port Lavaca, Texas, Wal-Mart, Port Lavaca, Texas; Reeds Grocery, Odem, Texas…”

“The only catch is that as the Liberty Dollar is voluntary, your bank may not accept it for deposit,” the company website said. “Of course, this also means that money cannot be siphoned away from your community by big box retailers. The Liberty Dollar is designed to stay in your community of origin for the advantage of the community.”

For example, a construction worker is paid a $20 Liberty for services, he then takes it to a grocery story for $20 in groceries. The store owner pays a local utility bill with the coin, and that coin then goes to a utility company employee for wages. That employee then pays it back to the construction worker for a remodeling project.

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