A high-ranking member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) has reached a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, admitting to food stamp fraud in a deal that got him released from jail immediately.
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.
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January 3, 2017 – Seth Jeffs, brother of imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud. In exchange, he was sentenced to time served (about six months in jail), no probation or restitution, and he and his family would avoid further prosecution in the case. Jeffs will be required to sit in on a government-provided training on proper use of SNAP benefits.
Jeffs smiled after he was sentenced and unshackled. U.S. Marshals allowed him to leave out a side door at the courthouse, avoiding TV cameras outside. Prosecutors said he oversees the FLDS church’s South Dakota property.
Jeffs and 10 other high-ranking FLDS members have been accused of ordering church members to turn over their SNAP benefits to be redistributed as the leadership wished. Prosecutors argue the benefits are intended only for use by those they’re given to.
The defendants claimed they have a right under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to give their property to the church. The FLDS live under the early Mormon concept of a “united order,” where members give their property and earnings to the church which divides it based on “wants and needs,” according to a defense filing.
Jeffs’ plea bargain is similar to one given to John Wayman, another FLDS member who pleaded guilty last week to a felony charge of food stamp fraud and was released from jail.
“I believe the government has made a prudent decision in its disposition,” U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart said as the hearing concluded.
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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 Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was sexually abused, molested or otherwise harmed by a member of the Mormon Church or FLDS, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.