The name game didn't pay off for three former inmates at the federal prison in El Reno. Russell Dean Landers, 56; Barry Dean Bischof, 60; and Clayton Heath Albers, 61, were convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in Oklahoma City of conspiracy and extortion. The jury deliberated for about 2 hours before finding the men guilty after a two-day trial. They will be sentenced in a few months. Their latest convictions carry up to 16 years in prison. Landers, Bischof and Albers had been accused of demanding exorbitant sums of money from officials at the El Reno prison for using their names, which they claimed had been copyrighted.
Men threaten to sueMembers of the anti-government Patriot movement advocate obtaining common-law copyrights in their names and threaten to sue if the government uses those names. Landers was a member of the Montana Freemen during an 81-day FBI standoff in 1996 before ending up in prison. The men billed prison officials millions of dollars for using their names without permission in late 2003 and early 2004, and then recruited someone with experience in repossessing property to help them with their scheme, according to court papers. Their helper, who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, told them he had changed the locks on the warden's home, taken possession of his vehicle and frozen his bank accounts, an indictment states. The inmates offered to negotiate the return of the warden's property if they were freed. The three inmates and two other men were indicted in June on conspiracy charges. Fellow inmate Carl Ervin Batts, 52, pleaded guilty in October and is awaiting sentencing. William Michael Roberson, a Louisiana man who allegedly helped the inmates with their copyright scheme, pleaded guilty earlier this month.
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