News / Utah / 

Judge orders Kingston brothers to remain in jail awaiting tax fraud trial

By Ashley Imlay, KSL | Posted - Feb. 8, 2019 at 8:41 p.m.

2 photos

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge on Friday ordered Jacob and Isaiah Kingston to remain in jail while awaiting trial.

The Washakie Renewable Energy executives are charged in an alleged billion-dollar renewable fuel tax credit scheme.

Federal Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells previously declined Isaiah Kingston's request to be released in August.

According to Friday's new order denying the Kingstons' release ahead of their May trial, reasons Isaiah Kingston provided in his request for release included "new information."

"He simply argues he does not have access to money or genuine ownership in Washakie. But at the prior hearings, the government provided strong evidence that Isaiah is CFO and 50 percent owner of Washakie and that he initiated wire transfers totaling $52 million to Turkish banks," according to court documents.

Meanwhile, "The crux of Jacob's request for pre-trial release is that he is not a flight risk or danger to the community," the order states.

According to court documents, Jacob Kingston said that "he was not fleeing to Turkey when he was arrested because he had purchased two-way tickets, he and his wife were accompanying his son and daughter-in-law on their honeymoon," according to the order.


"The government also argues Jacob's explanation for the timing and reason for his last trip to Turkey are peculiar. … The court acknowledges it would be unusual for parents and siblings to accompany a couple on their honeymoon to a country considered dangerous by the State Department," the order states.

A grand jury in January returned a second superseding indictment charging Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston and Chief Financial Officer Isaiah Kingston, along with California businessman Lev Dermen, with at total of 46 counts of mail fraud, money laundering, filing false tax returns and destroying records.

The Kingstons — members of the Davis County Cooperative Society or the Kingston Order, which practices polygamy — are charged in U.S. District Court with conspiring to launder the proceeds in hundreds of financial transactions between the accounts of various entities totaling $3.2 billion to make it look like Washakie was buying, selling and processing renewable fuel.

The Kingston brothers and Dermen were originally charged in August with a total of 15 counts of money laundering and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding more charges in November. They have pleaded not guilty.


Related Stories

Ashley Imlay

KSL Weather Forecast