The polygamous sect leaders who “lived lavishly” while their followers suffered probably think the court is as dumb and gullible as they are. This is fraud no matter what they want to attribute it to…this won’t be a good ending for these people who stole YOUR hard earned money! A total of $12 million was taken!
The 11 prosecuted, including polygamous sect leaders Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs, and John Wayman, are accused of forcing church members to give their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to leaders to spend on items for themselves.
Some of the items purchased using these benefits include a luxury car, a John Deere tractor, and many other items.
Polygamous sect members accused of food stamp fraud may testify at an upcoming hearing in an attempt to persuade a judge they were following religiously rooted communal living practices and not breaking the law.
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart said Tuesday he’ll allow attorneys to decide whether their clients take the stand at the Oct. 3-4 hearing or just submit statements.
Attorneys for 11 suspects facing fraud and money laundering charges are asking Judge Stewart to throw out at least part of the case based on the argument the actions were constitutionally protected.
Federal prosecutors counter that the defendants knowingly broke the law by not only donating food to a storehouse but diverting funds to front companies and to pay for a tractor, truck and other items. They say sect leaders lived lavishly while low-ranking followers suffered.