Memphis man pleads guilty to taking over HUD homes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say a Memphis man who claims he is a sovereign citizen has pleaded guilty to illegally taking possession of government-owned housing properties.

The U.S. attorney's office in Memphis says 46-year-old Devitoe Farmer pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of theft of government property. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each count at sentencing Aug. 13.

Prosecutors say the three properties that Farmer took over were owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Their combined value was $172,000.

One of the properties was rented to a tenant, while another was occupied by a relative of Farmer's.

When asked by authorities for proof of ownership, Farmer said he is a sovereign citizen.

Sovereign citizens typically make claims that laws do not apply to them.

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