Feb 25, 2016

Polygamous Sect Leaders Arrested for Food Stamp Fraud and Money Laundering

Lawyer Herald
February 25, 2016

Authorities arrested several church leaders from Warren Jeff's polygamous sect for food stamp fraud and money laundering allegations on Tuesday. It has been marked as the biggest blow to the said group in years.

According to AZ Central, the sect located in the towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, reportedly altered funds from Utah's nutrition assistance program for the leader's inappropriate use, prosecutors said. Eleven people were charged on the said illegal activity including, Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs, top-ranking leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs' brother.

Warren Jeff, considered by the members of the church as a prophet has been serving a life sentence in Texas jail. The sect leader has been convicted to sexually assaulting minors, ages 12 and 15 as his child brides on his hidden church compound.

Lyle Jeffs is managing a day-day operations in Utah's polygamous community. On the other hand, Seth Jeffs leads the South Dakota branch group, ABC News reported. US Attorney Huber explained, the indictment was not a religion-related, it was fraud crime.

Amos Guiora, a University of Utah law professor said, "The bust goes well beyond fraud, putting in doubt who will lead the group and how members will respond to a decisive message from government officials they have historically despised," Law Newz quoted.

According to DES, about 3,900 individuals in 500 Colorado City households are currently receiving food-stamp benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.​ Federal, state and local police served search warrants and made arrests Tuesday in Hildale, Salt Lake City and Custer County, South Dakota.

The Polygamous sect does not have a spokesman or contact information of their leaders. It is also unclear if the defendants had attorneys yet. The arrests also come amid a civil rights trial in Phoenix against the said polygamous towns of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona. Prosecutors says the communities discriminated against people who were not members of the church by denying them housing, water services and police protection.


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