Thursday, February 25, 2016

Feds Indict FLDS Leaders On Food Stamp Fraud Charges

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Utah announced on Tuesday the unsealing of an indictment against eleven leaders and members of the polygamous FLDS Church charging them with conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  (Full text of indictment in United States v. Jeffs). According to the U.S. Attorney's Office:
The indictment alleges church leaders diverted SNAP proceeds from authorized beneficiaries to leaders of the FLDS Church for use by ineligible beneficiaries and for unapproved purposes. A large percentage of FLDS Church members living in the Hildale, Utah – Colorado City, Arizona, community known as Short Creek receive SNAP benefits, amounting to millions of dollars in benefits per year.
Essentially, FLDS leaders required food stamp recipients to donate their benefits to a central clearing house which then redistributed food and household items to all in the community, whether or not they were food-stamp eligible. The indictment includes counts seeking criminal forfeiture of assets.  Daily Beast  reports further on the indictments.