PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A man from suburban Philadelphia claims to have 735 $1 billion Federal Reserve Bonds stashed in a bank outside the city, and that 15 more have yet to be returned to him by a scheming agent from the Department of Homeland Security.
Joseph Riad claims the 15 bonds came from three ultra-rare "sealed and certified bronze boxes," each of which contains 245 $1 billion 1934 Federal Reserve Bonds.
Riad sued the United States for $15 billion, in Federal Court.
The billion-dollar bonds allegedly were used by the government for debt-management purposes in the 1930s when physically moving lower-denomination currency or gold was impractical.
While there have been reports of fake billion-dollar bonds turning up in the past, Riad claims his bonds are genuine, and that several experts support that contention.
But no federal agency will redeem them, he says, despite "extensive and exhaustive proof of the authenticity of the Bonds."
According to what he calls an Affidavit of Procurement, filed as an exhibit to his complaint, Riad claims the boxes became his collateral for more than $76,000 in loans he made to a "mandate to the South African government."
That man failed to repay the loan, so Riad sued him in state court, according to the affidavit.
Riad says he discovered the bonds after his attorney at the time "recommended opening the boxes to determine if there was anything of value in them," according to the affidavit.
In June 2009, it was reported that 10 so-called billion-dollar "Kennedy Bonds" seized by Italian police were fakes.
Those bonds were reportedly part of a larger bogus bundle of $134 billion in fake federal bonds said to have been seized from Japanese smugglers on the Italian-Swiss border.
But Riad says his bonds are the real deal, and that the Secret Service has indicated as much.
He contacted that agency in mid-2008, then met with two Secret Service agents at his then-lawyer's Houston law office, according to his complaint.
The agents referred him to an official at the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD), but when Riad contacted BPD official Donna Ayers, she "categorically denied the existence of bonds such as plaintiff's bonds," according to the complaint.
Ayers bounced him back to the agents, who "inspected plaintiff's bonds, reviewed the accompanying expert reports, and performed their own evaluations and tests so as to render their own opinion as to the authenticity of plaintiff's bonds," Riad says.
The agents then contacted Ayers "and informed her that plaintiff had completed the appropriate and required examination and authentication of the Bonds and that the redemption of said bonds did fall under the purview of the BPD, since the Bonds were outstanding government issued securities/debts," according to the complaint.
Finding no luck with the BPD, Riad says he continued his quest of "repatriating the bonds to the U.S. Treasury, with his intent being to assist in reducing outstanding U.S. debts."
During his quest he encountered Nickolaus Jones, an agent for the Department of Homeland Security, who was bent on "fraudulently" obtaining the bonds, Riad says in his complaint.
Riad says he learned about Agent Jones through a man who called himself Neil Gibson.