Dominion of Melchizedek
|Dominion of Melchizedek
|Motto: Monotheism, unity, peace|
|Location||Part of Antarctica, Clipperton Island, Karitane, Solkope, Taongi|
|Official languages||English, Rusyn, Hebrew, Rotuman|
|Organizational structure||Ecclesiastical state|
|Purported Currency||Dominion Dollar|
Origin and status
The Dominion of Melchizedek was unilaterally declared in 1990 by Mark Logan Pedley, possibly with his father, Evan David Pedley. Mark Pedley also uses a number of pseudonyms, including "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser". It borrows its name from the biblical king and priest Melchizedek.
The Dominion of Melchizedek website claims that it is a recognized sovereign entity. However, it is not a member of the United Nations, mainstream media outlets, including Forbes magazine and The Washington Post, have characterized it as a "ruse", and it has been described as "non-existent" by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
The claimed territories are extremely widely dispersed across the north and south Pacific and Antarctica. The principal land is Taongi, otherwise known as Bokak Atoll, an uninhabited Micronesian atoll falling under the administration of the Government of the Marshal Islands. Clipperton Island is an overseas possession of France; Karitane Shoal is submerged 9m under the Pacific, and the minor island of Solkope belongs to Fiji. There is no recorded territorial claim in Antarctica and no land on which such a claim could be made.
It is a virtual nation that exists only on its webpage with the aim of luring gullible citizens from Third World Nations to buy into citizenship rights with a promise of easier procurement of a US Visa.
An article in the Washington Post reported that DoM was "diplomatically recognized" by the Central African Republic, in 1993, but stated, "...you get the feeling that the Central African Republic would recognize the State of Denial if it had a letterhead." An article in the Quatloos online anti-fraud site noted that "Melchizedek has apparently obtained some sort of recognition from some smaller states ... all of which are notable for their corruption. Claims that the DoM has received recognition from any major government are purely lies."
Marshall Islands statement
In response to one of DoM's territorial claims, the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands issued the following statement:
The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands condemns the claims and activities asserted by representatives of the "Kingdom of EnenKio" and the "Dominion of Melchizedek". The representatives making claims of separate sovereignty are not citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and have no right to make claims on behalf of Marshallese landowners. Furthermore, these representatives are making fraudulent assertions that violate the Republic of the Marshall Islands's constitution. The area of land and ocean which the "Kingdom of EnenKio" asserts as a sovereign nation separate from the Marshall Islands and the area of land and ocean which the "Dominion of Melchizedek" is asserting control over are areas within the geographical and political boundaries of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.—Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Circular Note 01-98
DoM apologists have suggested that there is no link between Melchizedek and the illegal activities conducted by "banks" it has "licensed"; however, in an address to the 4th International Financial Fraud Convention in London, 1999-05-27, John Shockey, a former special assistant in the office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, stated:
Melchizedek first came to my attention in June 1990, a few months after Mark Pedley was paroled from a 1986 conviction. Inquiries were received concerning bank names: Banco de Asia, Guardian Savings & Guaranty and Express Bank among others. Investigations that these entities had bank charters from the DOM and obtained through an entity named Consortium Finance Corporation headquartered in Lake Tahoe, California. Further investigation disclosed a principal alternately named John Hayden and Branch Vinedresser. Shortly thereafter the FBI took Branch Vinedresser into custody and revealed that he was Mark Pedley, who then was charged with violations of his parole.
In the same address Stockey also stated that: "The Dominion of Melchizedek is a fraud, a major fraud, and not a legitimate sovereign entity. Persons associated with the Dominion of Melchizedek have been indicted and convicted of a variety of crimes."
At one stage in the early 2000s, DoM maintained a post office box address in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Coincidentally, one of the individuals identified by Philippine authorities in November 1998 as the ringleader of a series of frauds perpetrated in the name of DoM was John Gillespie, a former Australian felon who was convicted on the basis of his involvement in the Fine Cotton horse substitution racket during the 1980s. According to a media report originally published in The Nation (Bangkok) on 1999-05-30, "hundreds of Filipinos, Chinese and Bangladeshis paid up to US$3,500 to Gillespie's gang for worthless Melchizedek travel documents," and some had also paid significant amounts of money to obtain "government jobs" on one of the uninhabited Pacific islands claimed by DoM. The total amount defrauded was estimated at one million dollars. While the other gang members were arrested, Gillespie himself eluded capture.
Another fraud involving DoM is tied to Jeffrey Thayer, who was the Governor of the Bar Association from 1997 to 1999 and the current General Counsel and Humanitarian Projects Coordinator. Thayer practices law under a license granted by DoM, although he is not allowed to practice in California where was once licensed.
David Evan Pedley
After being convicted of several financial crimes in the 1970s, including stock fraud, David Pedley was incarcerated. He claims the charges were false and the result of a "witch-hunt" against him. While incarcerated, he started a cattle business, which his son Ben David operated for him in Los Angeles, California.
While in Mexican custody Pedley apparently died, though the circumstances are not clear. A closed casket funeral was held in Altadena, California in 1987. At the funeral, FBI agents approached the Pedley family and requested to fingerprint David Pedley's body. This request was denied by the family and allegedly some government regulators believe that David Pedley is still alive. Pedley is the co-author, with his son, of the Melchizedek Bible.
Mark Logan Pedley
Mark Logan Pedley (born 19 July 1953), later changed to Mark Wellington, (also known as "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser"; Branch Vinedresser being a translation of his Hebrew name Tzemach Korem). He is the son of David Evan Pedley and was the Head of the House of Elders, Vice President, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the DoM. Pedley is the co-author, with his father, of the Melchizedek Bible.
In 1983, Pedley was convicted of mail and interstate fraud relating to a land fraud in California and jailed for 3 years. Shortly after his release, he was again successfully prosecuted in 1986 for a $6 million currency fraud scheme that was operated in 1982-3; he was jailed for 8 years and fined $25,000. Having been paroled in 1990, he set up the Dominion of Melchizedek. His parole was revoked in late 1991 due to a violation of his conditions, arising from his promotion of a fictitious country, and was returned to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. In 1994, following his release, Pedley married Pearlasia Gamboa, who was made president of Melchizedek.
In 2010, under the name Tzemach David Netzer Korem, he was charged with, and later pled guilty to, share manipulation regarding ZNext Mining. ZNext Mining was investigated by a multi-agency taskforce as part of Operation Broken Trust, a US-wide operation in 2010 that targeted investment fraud. In 2011 he was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Pearlasia Gamboa was president of the Dominion of Melchizedek.
She is a Filipina-American business woman who has been involved in controversial banking and investments. She was prevented from operating companies that were purporting to be banks in Indiana and California. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission sued Gamboa in 2009, alleging that she had used fictitious reports of gold mining operations to profit by fraudulently sell shares, siphoning off more than $1 million. A judgment was ordered against her in August 2010 totaling $1.8 million; a $650,000 fine for the ZNext corporation, and $1.18 million for Gamboa personally. Gamboa was also permanently barred from selling penny stocks. She has not paid the fine and is attempting to have the decision overturned.
- Lintner, Bertil (May 30, 1999). "Cyberfraud: The fictitious "Dominion of Melchizedek"". Asia Pacific Media Services. Bangkok: The Nation. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- "Litigation Release No. 16368". Securities and Exchange Commission. 1999-11-23.
- "The Ruse That Roared". The Washington Post. 5 November 1995.
- State Bar of California: member info, Jeffrey Taylor, Beverly Hills
- David Pasztor (1996-05-02). "Scam Without A Country". Dallas Observer (Village Voice Media).
- "Fantasy Island: The Strange Tale of Alleged Fraudster Pearlasia Gamboa". SF Weekly. 6 June 2011.
- "Boy, Do We Know Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem". Forbes. 8 October 2010.
- Tillman, Robert (2002). Global Pirates: Fraud in the Offshore Insurance Industry. Northeastern University Press. pp. 111–2.
- "U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES REGIONAL RESULTS OF "OPERATION BROKEN TRUST" TARGETING INVESTMENT FRAUD". United States Department of Justice. 6 December 2010.
- "Indiana trying to expel `phantom' Asia Pacific Bank". The Indianapolis Star. 9 November 1994. p. E1.
- ""Nation" Waging "Spiritual War" on State Official". The Sacramento Bee. 13 February 1995. p. B1.
- "SEC Ties Gold-Mining Shares to Empty Shell". Courthouse News Service. 15 Jun 2009.
- "SEC Sues ZNext Mining and its Principal for Fraud and Registration Violations". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 12 June 2009.
- Official site
- Scamdog - Another article describing Melchizedek's criminal activities.
- Warning from the Comptroller of the US Treasury Department.
- 1999 US Securities and Exchange Commission civil case involving bank licensed by the Dominion of Melchizedek
- "THE RUSE THAT ROARED; It's War! Island Nation Targets France in Ruthenian Missile Crisis", The Washington Post, November 5, 1995
- "No Man Is An Island", Dallas Observer, June 27, 1996
- "The Dominion Of Melchizedek Manipulation", DC Indymedia, January 10, 2008