A Florida man who claims his phony $20 bills were a protest against President Andrew Jackson's treatment of Indians is going to prison.
Circuit Judge James McCann imposed an 18-month sentence Friday on Ronald Jensen, 53, of St. Lucie County, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported. Because Jensen has already spent 406 days in custody, he will spend a few months more behind bars.
In a 2009 raid, St. Lucie County sheriff's deputies said they found more than $1,800 in funny money in Jensen's apartment. He had a roll of bills sitting on the toilet and burned money in the toilet bowl.
Jensen, who said he is of Cherokee descent, said he was making a video that would show the bill bearing Jackson's portrait being burned and flushed to protest his signing of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The law allowed the U.S. government to remove the Cherokees and other tribes from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma on what became known as the "Trail of Tears."
"I wanted to demean Andrew Jackson the way he demeaned my people," Jensen said. "I'm an artist, and I was exercising my freedom of speech."
Jensen pleaded no contest to the charges in August. McCann pointed out at sentencing that he had also been caught with fake $1 bills.