A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Financial Crimes Perpetrated by Far-Right Extremists in the United States: 1990-2013

Financial Crimes Perpetrated by Far-Right Extremists in the United States: 1990-2013


A descriptive analysis of financial crime data from the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) reveals that far-right political or religious extremists in the United States engaged in various types of financial crimes, mostly tax avoidance, and were largely affiliated with the sovereign citizen movement. While the majority of schemes were ideologically motivated, many contained elements of profit or greed motivations and involved a large number of non-extremist collaborators.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between financial crimes and political extremism in the United States through a systematic analysis of criminal cases involving far-right political and religious extremists indicted from 1990 to 2013 for their participation in a financial scheme included in the ECDB. The ECDB is an open source relational database that collects data on extremist crimes, violent and non-violent/financial, ideological and routine, reported in an open source since 1990, including information on extremist suspects (far-right extremists, environmental and animal rights extremists, and al-Qa’ida and affiliated movements extremists) and non-extremist accomplices. Using data from the ECDB, this study provides a descriptive analysis of (a) financial schemes (i.e., illicit financial operations carried out over an extended period of time by one or more suspects) and (b) criminal suspects (i.e., individuals criminally charged for participating in the schemes).

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Sullivan, Brandon A., and Joshua D. Freilich, Steven M. Chermak, William Parkin, Jeff Gruenewald. 2015. "Financial Crimes Perpetrated by Far-Right Extremists in the United States: 1990-2013." College Park, MD. June. http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_ECDB_FinancialCrimesSchemesPerpetratedbyFarRightExtremists_June2015.pdf

Publication URL: 
Visit Website