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Feds seek 5-year prison term for FLDS leader in food stamp fraud case

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SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors want the leader of a multimillion-dollar Fundamentalist LDS Church welfare fraud scheme to spend five years behind bars.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in court documents filed Friday described a long list of reasons why Lyle Steed Jeffs should go to prison, including his fleeing custody.

Jeffs directed FLDS Church members to divert $11.2 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits over a five-year period, according to court papers. He pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud and failing to appear in court in September.

While the 10 other defendants resolved their cases with no prison time, Jeffs slipped an ankle monitor and fled, spending nearly a year on the run before being captured in June in South Dakota.

Jeffs is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 13.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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