According to the theory, the government created a fictitious person (or "straw man") corresponding to each newborn citizen with bank accounts initially holding $630,000. The theory further holds that through obscure procedures under the Uniform Commercial Code, a citizen can "reclaim" the straw man and write checks against its accounts.
There have been many well-publicized convictions of citizens attempting to take advantage of this theory. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regards the instructors and promoters of redemption schemes as fraudsters while the Internal Revenue Service has included the "straw man" claim in its list of frivolous positions that may result in the imposition of a $5,000 penalty when used as the basis for an inaccurate tax return.
The redemption movement is based on a theory developed in the 1980s by Roger Elvick, who has been called a "founding father" of the modern redemption movement. The theory is, in part, that for every citizen's birth registration recorded in the U.S. since the 1936 Social Security Act, the government deposits $630,000 in a treasury bank account linked to the newborn child and administered by a Jewish cabal. Redemptionists assert that by completing certain legal maneuvers and filing a series of government forms, the actual person may entitle himself or herself to the $630,000 held in the name of the fictional persona created for him or her at birth, and may then access these government funds using "sight drafts". The government views these sight drafts as "rubber checks" and the entire scheme as fraudulent. The federal government has convicted such practitioners of fraud and conspiracy.
Other important documents in this theory are
It is held, however, that the UCC-1 merely creates a rebuttable presumption, which can be overcome if a man or woman is receiving some sort of benefit from the state as a slave. It is held to be important to not sign documents such as W-4 forms, or if one is to sign them, to also write "under duress".