Feds say FLDS polygamous fraud scheme about lavish lifestyle, not religion

Associated Press/August 12, 2016

Salt Lake City — Federal prosecutors say in a new court filing that Lyle Jeffs and other polygamous sect leaders carried out a food stamp fraud scheme so they could live lavish lifestyles while followers lived off of rice and toast.

In a court brief filed Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah pushes back against the assertion made by suspects that they shared the food stamps as part of their communal living practices protected by religious rights.

Attorneys for the suspects said in a June filing that pooling the food stamps benefited the group because they got more food for less money by buying in bulk.

But prosecutors say that theory is not supported by the evidence.

The 11 defendants have pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges.

Lyle Jeffs is on the run after escaping home confinement in June.

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