The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of a Utah-based polygamous faith leader who escaped from home confinement ahead of his trial over food stamp fraud.
Lyle Jeffs, 56, fled confinement in Salt Lake City sometime over the weekend of June 18 – 19 and an arrest warrant was issued by a federal judge that Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
Prosecutors allege Jeffs and other leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) in Arizona and South Dakota diverted money from the federal government food assistance program for the poor.
Jeffs pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment in February and was released from jail on June 9 ahead of his October trial. Jeffs is the de facto leader of the (FLDS), an unacknowledged offshoot of the Mormon Church.
In all, the indictment charged 11 defendants with conspiring to defraud the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, and conspiring to commit money laundering.
Prosecutors allege that in about 2011, the church leaders directed adherents to funnel food bought with SNAP money to an FLDS storehouse to feed the greater church community.
Money also was diverted to other leaders to pay bills, according to the charges. One spent $30,236 on a 2012 Ford F-350 truck and another paid $16,978 for paper products, prosecutors said.
Jeffs is the brother of Warren Jeffs, who is considered the prophet of the faith and is serving a sentence of up to life in prison plus 20 years in Texas for illegally marrying and sexually abusing underage girls.
The sect is based in the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. It is an offshoot of the Salt Lake City-based mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which renounced polygamy in 1890 and has no affiliation with the FLDS.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Alan Crosby)
A historian explains why 2019 marks the beginning of the next 74-year cycle of American history
A century ago, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. argued that history occurs in cycles. His son, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., furthered this theory in his own scholarship. As I reflect on Schlesinger’s work and the history of the United States, it seems clear to me that American history has three 74-year-long cycles. America has had four major crisis turning points, each 74 years apart, from the time of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to today.
The first such crisis occurred when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787 to face the reality that the government created by the Articles of Confederation was failing. There was a dire need for a new Constitution and a guarantee of a Bill of Rights to save the American Republic. The founding fathers, under the leadership of George Washington, were equal to the task and the American experiment successfully survived the crisis.
Self-preservation fuels the Democratic base’s lurch to the left — before the rich take it all
In 2016 all the corporate news media outlets, NPR included, predicted that Trump would lose. They just did not recognize the discontent in America’s rust belt because the economic dislocation that had, and continues to define life there, was just not part of their personal frame of reference.
They thought the country was several years into a recovery and the national aggregate unemployment data they had commissioned confirmed it. But nobody lives or votes in the aggregate. And it wasn’t until Trump flipped the 200 counties that Obama had carried twice, that the corporate news media started paying some attention.
Experts discuss the distorted impeachment debate at a propaganda forum — and how real debate can untangle it
“Would you be upset if the Democratic nominee called on China to help in the next presidential election?” That’s the concrete question we should ask ourselves about Robert Mueller's report and the issue of impeachment, according to University of California, Santa Cruz, social psychologist Anthony Pratkanis, speaking at a recent Zócalo Public Square event, “Is Propaganda Keeping Americans From Thinking for Themselves?”
This was a week before President Trump’s interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, apparently welcoming foreign interference in the 2020 election. Impeachment wasn’t the ostensible subject of the event — which also featured Texas A&M historian of rhetoric Jennifer Mercieca and UCLA marketing scholar and psychologist Hal Hershfield — but it was never far from mind.