A former polygamous sect leader has been sentenced to nearly five years for his role in carrying out an elaborate food stamp fraud scheme and for escaping home confinement while awaiting trial.
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart said Wednesday during a hearing in Salt Lake City that Lyle Jeffs deserved the 57-month prison sentence because his behavior shows he doesn’t respect U.S. laws and puts his allegiance to his brother and the sect’s imprisoned prophet, Warren Jeffs, above everything else.
Lyle Jeffs said he accepted responsibility for his mistakes and that he erred in not properly researching food stamp fraud laws.
He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit benefits fraud and failure to appear.
Prosecutors accused Lyle Jeffs of running a scheme to divert some $11 million in food-stamp benefits to a communal storehouse and front companies.