Local News

Landers, Wells Found Guilty

Posted February 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A federal jury Friday found Russell Dean Landers and James Vincent Wells guilty Friday in their fraud and conspiracy case.

The charges had arisen from a fraud scheme intended to finance a Freeman plot to kidnap and execute public officials in Montana.

Prosecutors had contended the men used comptroller warrants, which the Freeman regard as as valid money, to get funds from Central Carolina Bank. Defense lawyers used that belief in the warrants' validity as a defense for the men.

The men had been charged with bank and mail fraud, transporting stolen property and trying to intimidate IRS agents and interfering with the administration of IRS laws.

Still at issue is forfeiture, which the jury must still decide. The men might be fined from zero to $475,000 for their offenses.

Wells was on hand for the verdict; Landers had been banned from the courtroom after several outbursts.

Wells' wife was a spectator as the verdict was read. Other than she, there were no known Freeman supporters in the U.S. District courtroom.