FLDS polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs faces new felony charge

This frame grab from KSFY Television video shows polygamous sect leader Lyle Jeffs arriving at the Federal Courthouse Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Jeffs has been captured in South Dakota while apparently living out of his pickup truck after nearly a year on the run. Authorities had been hunting for Jeffs since he escaped home confinement in Utah on June 18, 2016, ahead of his trial in an alleged multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme. | KSFY Television via AP, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A federal grand jury has issued a new indictment against Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints polygamous sect leader Lyle Steed Jeffs.

Jeffs, who had been on the run from authorities for nearly a year prior to his recent arrest, has been charged with a new felony count for failure to appear. Prosecutors filed the charge in federal court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

If convicted, Jeffs could potentially face up to 10 years in prison on the new charge.

Jeffs escaped from home confinement in Salt Lake City in June 2016 but was picked up by law enforcement in South Dakota last week after he pawned two pairs of pliers.

Authorities said Jeffs was alone and had been living out of his truck at the time of his arrest.

Before absconding last year, Jeffs was awaiting trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme within the FLDS church. Jeffs is still facing two felony charges in that matter.

Jeffs and other leaders were accused of instructing followers to buy items with their food stamp cards and give them to a church warehouse where leaders decided how to distribute products to followers, diverting at least $12 million worth of federal benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber said Thursday that Jeffs’ flight from prosecution and his fugitive status will undoubtedly play a significant part in his upcoming prosecution.

Jeffs’ 11 co-defendants resolved their cases by pleading guilty to felony or misdemeanor charges. All avoided jail time or paying restitution.

Because he fled prosecution, Huber said Jeffs won’t likely be offered a plea deal.

Officials have always viewed Lyle Jeffs as the lead defendant in the food stamp fraud case, Huber said last week, noting that the prosecution’s approach with Jeffs “will in no way resemble the way we have handled and processed the other defendants in this case.”

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • utahdiablo June 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Aww Heck….Lyle’s a good ol’ boy, he won’t do that again, as to stealing another $12 Million in food stamps, after all, like the last Fed Revenuer said, “he was just trying to feed his people”…just have him pay a extra $100 fine and be done with it and let the Man be

  • commonsense June 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I have no sympathy or connection to polygamy but Lyle Jeffs is in prison and violent illegal aliens receive sanctuary in blues cities. Hmmmm….

    • comments June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

      What does one have to do with the other? You are the dumbest, simplest clown that comments on this site. I think you might be a troll, if not it’s just ridiculous. This is why we have a corrupt reality TV show clown as pres. And if the majority of trump voters are as dumb as you this country does not have a bright future. If anything it’s disappointing. Your just simple and dumb.

      😉

      • comments June 23, 2017 at 11:07 am

        You remind me of one of those LDS housewives that doesn’t have a singe independent thought of her own–robotic, brainwashed, indoctrinated. You rely on others to do all your thinking for you. Everything you write here is just parroted from some right-wing noise source. Would be amazing if you could think for yourself even just a little. cheers buddy 😉

        • ladybugavenger June 23, 2017 at 11:51 am

          Did someone hurt your feelings?

          • comments June 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm

            no LB. Just everything he/she says is so dumb. It’s like he’s trolling me without even trying. Maybe I’m not used to it because i don’t get exposed to low iq trump voters on a daily basis, or if they are they don’t bring up politics. he/she is just dumb, hahaha. Sometimes it’s amusing how dumb a person can be, but this one just gets under my skin. LOL

          • ladybugavenger June 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm

            I love Trump but its useless to talk politics lol…politicians as a whole are corrupt so it’s a fight to nowhere land

        • mesaman June 23, 2017 at 9:27 pm

          Poor little snowflake, do you want your mommie?

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