Daniel Rigmaiden escaped serious prison time following tax fraud charges after he filed a series of motions exposing privacy concerns. He was the subject of the final two episodes of the Netflix series, “Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet.”
Rigmaiden was indicted on 74 counts of mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy, according to court documents. He filed motions to suppress the evidence gathered against him, saying his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when law enforcement used a “Stingray” device to locate his apartment. You can read the order filed in the case United States v. Rigmaiden here.
Rigmaiden was presented as a controversial figure on the show who says he committed crimes because he did not agree with the system. He explained on the series that he filed tax returns for deceased people and collected money sent from the government. Through his motions, surveillance tactics were exposed that gives information on innocent people to law enforcement officials attempting to apprehend criminals, activists said on the show.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rigmaiden Was Sentenced to 68 Months in Prison & Now Works as a Consultant
Rigmaiden is based in Pheonix, Arizona today and consults with the ACLU on the use of Stingray devices. After his release, he assisted in drafting a bill regarding Stingrays.
“When state Rep. David Taylor proposed a bill that would change how police seek permission to use a controversial cellphone surveillance device, an Arizona resident took note,” The News Tribune wrote. “Since then, Daniel Rigmaiden has helped refine the bill’s definition of a cell site simulator, a device commonly called by its brand name, Stingray. The bill reached its latest milestone Monday, when state senators passed it out of the Law and Justice Committee.”
Campbell was sentenced to 68 months in custody, or time served, in his case. He was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, to forfeit the money he illegally acquired, and to submit to three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
A U.S. District Judge Denied Rigmaiden’s Motion to Suppress Evidence But Said His Motions Were ‘Thoroughly Researched & Factually Detailed’
Rigmaiden filed “hundreds of pages of motions and exhibits” to argue his case, which reached United States District Judge David Campbell in United States v. Rigmaiden. Campbell denied the motion to suppress evidence, but discussed the research and detail in the court filings.
“Although Defendant Rigmaiden represents himself and has no formal training in the law, his motions and memoranda are thoroughly researched and factually detailed,” Campbell wrote in his order.
The judge wrote that court cases referenced in the motions did not pertain to search warrants, while Rigmaiden and the ACLU argued that the methods should have been spelled out more clearly in the warrant application.
“Defendant and the ACLU insist that because cell-site simulators are a new and potentially invasive technology, the government was required to include a more detailed description in its warrant application,” Campbell wrote. “The ACLU cites cases in which a magistrate denied the government’s application to use a cell-site simulator, but in each of those cases the applications were made pursuant to statutory authority and not, as here, pursuant to a warrant based on probable cause.”
Campbell concluded that Rigmaiden’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated.
Defendant has not shown that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in his apartment, laptop, or aircard. Defendant has not shown that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated or, if a violation did occur, that suppression is the appropriate remedy. The good faith exception applies to the contested areas of the government’s investigation, including its use of the mobile tracking device pursuant to a Rule 41 warrant.
Defendant has filed literally dozens of motions in this case, many of them seeking suppression or some other form of sanction against the government. The Court has patiently sought to address each motion filed by pro se Defendant, but the time has come to resolve the government’s allegations on the merits. Defendant should file no further motions to suppress or for sanctions based on the government’s searches in this case or its pretrial production of discovery to Defendant.