Dominion of Melchizedek

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Dominion of Melchizedek
Micronation
Motto: Monotheism, unity, peace
Status Current
Location Part of Antarctica, Clipperton Island, Karitane, Solkope, Taongi[1]
Official languages English, Rusyn, Hebrew, Rotuman
Organizational structure Ecclesiastical state
 -  Leader Vacant
Establishment
 -  Declared 1986 
Membership < 50
Purported Currency Dominion Dollar

The Dominion of Melchizedek (DoM), is a unilaterally declared, internationally unrecognised micronation known for facilitating large scale banking fraud in many parts of the world.[2] The president was Pearlasia Gamboa, wife of vice-president David Korem. Their activities were described by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica as "one of the most diabolical international scams ever devised in recent years."[3][4]

Origin and status[edit]

The Dominion of Melchizedek was unilaterally declared in 1986 by Evan David Pedley and his son, Mark Logan Pedley.[2] The latter also uses a number of pseudonyms, including "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser" (which is a rough English translation of the Hebrew). 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,[5] 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.[6]

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.

Recognition[edit]

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."[4] 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."[2]

As far as is known, DoM does not maintain a diplomatic mission or any other form of representation in the Central African Republic, nor is there evidence confirming the existence of a formal bilateral relationship of any substance. DoM's web site claims that it has since been "recognised" by Burkina Faso. No reliable secondary source has published a confirmation or denial of the claim.

Marshall Islands statement[edit]

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[7]

Frauds linked to the Dominion of Melchizedek[edit]

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."[2]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Lawsuit against CBS[edit]

In April 2000, CBS's 60 Minutes II aired a report critical of the Dominion of Melchizedek. Mark Pedley claims that, prior to the program being aired, he had a conversation with 60 Minutes II producer Janet Klein, in which Klein promised Pedley fair coverage of DoM. In the opening of the program, CBS stated that Pedley was a prophet. During the interview, Bob Simon asked Pedley if he was a prophet. Pedley replied, "I try to avoid making any predictions about the future."[10]

After the CBS broadcast, DoM demanded a retraction of statements made during the program. As a result of the bad press, DoM filed a lawsuit (in its own judicial system) on May 5, 2000 seeking $1 billion in damages for libel against CBS, naming Klein, Simon, and CBS as the defendants. On July 26, 2000, DoM entered a default judgement against CBS, claiming that the company failed to respond to the lawsuit. Because of the lack of jurisdiction, CBS has refused to acknowledge the judgement.

David Evan Pedley[edit]

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.[11]

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.[8]

Mark Logan Pedley[edit]

Mark Logan Pedley, (born 1953-07-19 in Los Angeles, California) (also known as "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser") is the son of David Evan Pedley. He served as the Head of the House of Elders, Vice President of the Executive Branch, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of DoM until elections on 2006-11-15 when Korem was replaced by Charles Balas. As a result of the elections, no member of the Pedley family any longer holds titles of authority in DoM. Pedley is the co-author of the Melchizedek Bible.[2]

He had his parole revoked by his parole officer in late 1991 due to a violation of his conditions. Pedley was released from his parole in July 1994. In 1976, Pedley married Janith Marie Wardy. In 1994, Pedley married Pearlasia Gamboa, a Filipina-American who became the first president of Melchizedek.[2]

Pearlasia Gamboa[edit]

Main article: Pearlasia Gamboa

Pearlasia Gamboa was the first president of the Dominion of Melchizedek.[4] She is a Filipina-American business woman with numerous aliases who has been involved in controversial international banking, investment, and financial development transactions, including alleged bank fraud and securities fraud, from 1990 through 2009. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission filed against Gamboa in 2009 to stop her from selling securities of any kind again, and to reimburse victims of her fraudulent activities by which she enriched herself, calling her claimed Philippine gold mines and companies "empty shells".[12] According to a United States law enforcement official, her "so-called ‘banks' are involved in serious fraud, and we are watching them close."[13]

Gamboa's method of operation is to claim that she is highly religious, to pretend to have wealth, to create associations with international fame, to use numerous variations of her names and aliases, and to pretend to own physical companies around the world, such as gold mines, biodiesel companies, and banks, which are actually only empty shells.[4][14][15] In 1995, after being investigated for fraud, Gamboa claimed a "religious freedom" by which she did not recognize the laws of the State of California, and she declared spiritual warfare on California's Deputy Attorney General.[16] In 2002, the address Gamboa listed with the SEC as an address for two of her businesses was the largest residence in Beverly Hills.[17] Among Gambo's schemes was to defraud hundreds of Filipinos, Chinese, and Bengalis.[13] La Republica describes "a trap of luxury for the victims".[3]

Use of aliases, fictitious business names, and corporate shells[edit]

The Washington Post newspaper describes Gamboa's numerous aliases and company names as "names that change with kaleidoscopic ease and a history of more legal proceedings than 'Melchizedek' has syllables… getting to the truth requires a walk down a bizarre labyrinth that includes a home-brew religion…it appears to exist mainly so that money can be whisked through shell banks".[4] The Indiana Star newspaper described her activities as being "like a novel full of global intrigue and biblical ties".[18]

Gamboa has operated under various aliases and business names, described by the Securities and Exchange Commission as being a "woman with multiple aliases", and by the Washington Post newspaper, "names that change with kaleidoscopic ease".[4][15] Aliases include Bae Catiguman, Bae Katiguman, Princess Bae Katigumen, Bae Cat, B. Cat, pbc, Rebekah Mesaleah, Elvira Katiguman, Elvira Catiguman, Bae Elvira Gamboa, Pearlasia Gamboa, Ming Zhu, Pearlasia Korem, Pearlasia Grace Gamboa, Grace (Pearlasia Gamboa), E. Pearl Asian, Elvie G Gamboa, Elvira G, Elvira Gamboa, Elvie Austin Gamboa, Elvira G. Austin, and Maria Gamboa.[4][15][16][18][19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://melchizedek.com/dom/territory.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f Quatloos!
  3. ^ a b Massimo, Luigi (15 May 2002). "'Dominio di Melchizedek' stato fantasma sull' Appia" ['Dominion of Melchizedek' Ghost State] (in Italian). Rome. pp. 5–6. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Richard Leiby; James Lileks (November 5, 1995). "The Ruse That Roared". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ http://www.un.org/en/members/
  6. ^ "Litigation Release No. 16368". Securities and Exchange Commission. 1999-11-23. 
  7. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/nv/micronations/images/marshall2b.jpg
  8. ^ a b Lintner, Bertil (May 30, 1999). "Cyberfraud: The fictitious "Dominion of Melchizedek"". Asia Pacific Media Services. Bangkok: The Nation. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  9. ^ State Bar of California: member info, Jeffrey Taylor, Beverly Hills
  10. ^ "Fantasy Island". CBS News (CBS Worldwide Inc.). 2000-04-10. 
  11. ^ David Pasztor (1996-05-02). "Scam Without A Country". Dallas Observer (Village Voice Media). 
  12. ^ "Litigation Release No. 21084: SEC Sues ZNext Mining and its Principal for Fraud and Registration Violations". Securities and Exchange Commission v. ZNext Mining Corporation, Inc. and Elvira G. Gamboa, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Civil Action No. CV 09-2611 (VRW). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. June 12, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Knight, James (Feb 17, 2000). "Cyber Nations with Real Repercussions". Asia Times. 
  14. ^ "Cronaca. Operazione Mulciber, una colossale truffa internazionale sgominata dai carabinieri". RAI News 24. 2002-05-14. 
  15. ^ a b c "SEC Ties Gold-Mining Shares to Empty Shell". Courthouse News Service. Jun 15, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b ""Nation" Waging "Spiritual War" on State Official". Sacramento Bee. February 13, 1995. p. B1. 
  17. ^ First Canadian American Holding Corp • 8-K • For 1/7/02
  18. ^ a b Dinnen, SP (Nov 9, 1994). "Indiana Trying to Expel "Phantom" Asia Pacific Bank". Indianapolis Star. 
  19. ^ DeSilva, Craig (February 5, 2000). "Fiji's cyber secession". Asia Times. 

External links[edit]