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Big Bend man accused of threatening municipal judge

 A 29-year-old Big Bend man has been accused of threatening to file false tax liens against a Muskego municipal judge over a suspended driver’s license.

Michael G. Rinderle, W229 S8840 Clark St., was charged on Monday, Jan. 20 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with threatening to injure a public official, a felony which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Rinderle is being held at Waukesha County Jail on a $85,000 cash bond, according to court records. The district attorney’s office has filed paperwork requesting that Rinderle be extradited to Pennsylvania, where he stands accused of fleeing an officer.

According to the criminal complaint, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department was asked earlier this month to investigate a suspicious email sent to Muskego Municipal Judge Patrick Berigan on Jan. 1.

The email read in part: “It has come to my attention that when I was out traveling the country, handling other corrupt municipal judges, you went behind my back and leveraged the DOT [Department of Transportation] to take my license away.”

According to the complaint, Rinderle had been cited for several traffic violations in the City of Muskego and had failed to appear in court or pay the fines. Judge Berigan had suspended his driver’s license as a result, the complaint states.

The email continues: “My question to you is do you want to fix this and apologize to me now or do you want me to make a laughingstock out of you and make you my debtor as well? I figure I’ll give you until next Monday at 12:00 p.m. to make your decision.”

A court official identified Rinderle as a “sovereign citizen” in an email sent to Berigan, according to court records.

According to the FBI’s website, sovereign citizens are individuals that refuse to recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations because they believe the government operates outside of its jurisdiction.

The FBI believes sovereign citizen extremists comprise a domestic terrorist movement, according to the bureau’s website. Sovereign citizens have been known to commit crimes that include falsifying paperwork, fraud, and tax evasion, the website states.

A common tactic of harassment and intimidation is to file frivolous lawsuits or liens against real property held by law enforcement officers, judges and government officials, the website states.

The criminal complaint states that Rinderle admitted to sending the email in an interview with police. When asked what he planned on doing, Rinderle showed the officer a lengthy legal document and said he had filed commercial liens against 28 agents in four townships in the State of New Jersey at a value of $42 million.

He claimed that Berigan “forced a contract on him without his consent,” according to the complaint., and he planned on filing a lien against Berigan if the suspension was not reversed.

Rinderle is expected to appear before Judge Jennifer Dorow at a hearing on Jan. 23.

According to court records, Dorow herself the victim of an attack by a self-identified sovereign citizen.

Cornelius Hill was charged on April 30, 2012 in Dane County Circuit Court with 12 counts of criminal slander for filing false financial statements against various law enforcement officers and judges, including Dorow.

Dorow told state investigators in the criminal complaint that she had found Hill, a resident of the Town of Ottawa, guilty of violating several Waukesha County ordinances in February 2012.

Hill then filed false financial paperwork with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions claiming that Dorow owed him $11.49 million.

Hill was found guilty at jury trial on Sept. 12, 2013 and received a four-year prison sentence, with an additional six years in prison stayed in lieu of five years probation.

Dorow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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