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

Lyle Steed Jeffs
Lyle Steed Jeffs
Davis County Sheriff's Office

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.

— Dennis Romboy