FLDS polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs pleads not guilty

Lyle Jeffs | Booking photo courtesy of Tooele County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs entered a not guilty plea in federal court Monday on charges related to food stamp fraud and failure to appear in court.

Lyle Jeffs | Booking photo courtesy of Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

After nearly a year on the run from authorities, Jeffs made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells in Salt Lake City.

Judge Wells scheduled a two-week trial to begin Sept. 18 for the matter to be heard in federal court. Wells ordered Jeffs jailed pending trial.

Jeffs went on the run in June 2016 after a judge allowed him to be released on home confinement pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme within the FLDS church.

Jeffs was captured last month in South Dakota after he pawned two pairs of pliers. A pawn shop employee recognized Jeffs and called police.

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

Jeffs faces up to 30 years in prison for his role in allegedly instructing FLDS followers to buy items with benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and then give them to a church warehouse where leaders decided how to distribute products to followers.

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

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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5 Comments

  • ladybugavenger July 10, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Oh snap! He’s starting to look like warren

    Not guilty- LOL!

  • mesaman July 10, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Warren made me do it.

  • Utahguns July 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    After a year on the run from authorities, he pleads not guilty?
    To those who think this person is a prophet of God, it’s just a complete brainwashing….
    This is a cult leader, a manipulator, a pedophile, a fraud, a scoundrel, and a criminal.
    Interesting how the FLDS teachings include the practice to “Bleed the beast”; in other words you’ll be taught to lie, cheat and steal from the feds, the state, local business owners, your neighbors, even people you don’t know.

    “Jeffs proverbs” which are ingrained into the heads of the followers include the one proverb: ‘When you disobey there must and will always be a punishment.’
    All I have to say is, “You, Lyle Jeffs, will most definitely be punished !”

  • riccie July 11, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Its interesting that their is very little repercussion on the judge that helped him escape. Why is there not more public outcry against the judge and the system?

    • mesaman July 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Because there are too few democrats in the area.

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