SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Several leaders from Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect are expected to make their initial court appearances Wednesday after their arrests on federal allegations of food stamp fraud and money laundering.
The suspects were arrested Tuesday on accusations of orchestrating a yearslong fraud scheme instructing members how to use food-stamp benefits illegally for the benefit of the faith and avoid getting caught.
U.S. attorneys say 11 people were charged, including Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs. They are top-ranking leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and brothers of imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs.
The charges are the government’s latest move targeting the sect based on the Utah-Arizona border, coinciding with legal battles over child labor and discrimination against nonbelievers.
U.S. Attorney John Huber says: “This indictment is not about religion. This indictment is about fraud.”