Federal prosecutors are attempting to block members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) from donating their food stamps to church leaders to do with as they see fit.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, molested or otherwise harmed by a member of the Mormon Church or Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: Judge Won’t Dismiss FLDS Food Stamp Lawsuit on Religious Grounds
November 17, 2016 – A federal judge won’t dismiss food stamp fraud charges filed against members of the polygamous FLDS who say sharing their benefits is legal under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart announced Tuesday that the charges do not violate the religious freedoms of the sect, which is accused of operating a scheme that allegedly cheated taxpayers out of at least $12 million.
What’s the Problem?
April 27, 2016 – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah asked Magistrate Judge Robert Braithwaite to limit the defense played by 11 FLDS members charged in the food stamp fraud scheme. Prosecutors allege that the FLDS has ordered its “United Order” members to hand over Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to church leaders to do with as they see fit.
“These authorities, which require SNAP beneficiaries to use the SNAP benefits to purchase eligible food for their households, necessarily prevent FLDS leaders from systematically requiring members to donate their SNAP benefits to the FLDS Church to be used outside of the authorized households as the church leaders see fit,” federal prosecutors wrote in a filing (PDF).
The defense contends that prosecutors are attempting to violate FLDS members’ religious freedom, as they believe in consecrating their property to the church. It is anticipated that defense attorneys will fight the prosecution’s motion in limine. Eleven people — including 2 of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs’ brothers — have been charged with SNAP fraud and money laundering, accused of running a food stamp fraud scheme that the feds claim exceeds $12 million.
Feds Push Judge to Block FLDS from Claiming ‘Religious Right’ to Hand Over Food Stamps
August 12, 2016 – Federal prosecutors are again asking a judge to block members of the FLDS from claiming a “religious right” to hand over food stamp benefits to the polygamous sect, according to FOX 13. In court filings this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah urged Magistrate Judge Robert Braithwaite to reject that claim in the massive food stamp fraud case involving 11 FLDS Church members and leaders.
“SNAP laws and regulations require that beneficiaries use their SNAP benefits to purchase eligible food from authorized retailers for the recipient’s household,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Murray. “This necessarily precludes beneficiaries from donating their benefits, and necessarily prevents FLDS leaders from systematically requiring members to donate their benefits to the FLDS Church to be used outside of the authorized households as the church leaders see fit.”
Do I Need an FLDS Lawyer?
The Sexual Abuse Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in FLDS lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new abuse and molestation cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was harmed by the Mormon Church, LDS or FLDS, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.