Update 12/13: Jeffs was sentenced to nearly five years in prison (57 months). 45 months for fraud and 12 months for fleeing. More here.
SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Lyle Jeffs will soon be in prison. How long remains in question.
Jeffs who pleaded guilty in September to food stamp fraud will be sentenced Wednesday in federal court.
Jeffs actually fled after he was allowed to remain under home confinement with an ankle monitor. He was arrested in July in South Dakota.
“He has finally confessed to what he knows he did wrong,” said his half-brother Wallace Jeffs Kenton. “He knew this was a criminal organization.”
And now Lyle Jeffs, like his brother Warren, will soon be in prison.
The FLDS leader admitted to food stamp fraud. In a pre-sentence report, federal prosecutors are recommending he serve 5-years in prison. Jeffs’ attorney is recommending he serve three-years.
Wallace Jeffs Kenton is a former member of the FLDS community and said that recommendation isn’t enough.
“I think a five-year sentence is light,” said Jeffs Kenton. “I wish it could have been more but I feel the most important thing is Lyle pled guilty.”
In the pre-sentence report, prosecutors claimed Jeffs swindled the government of more than $11 million. In their own report, Jeffs attorney claimed it was $2 million.
Prosecutors said FLDS members starved after they turned over their so called SNAP benefits to stores controlled by Jeffs. The stores allegedly laundered those monies into income.
According to court documents, “many families suffered extreme hunger, malnutrition and related health issues.”
“While members subsisted on meager quantities of rice and noodles….(Jeffs had a) “personal chef and he regularly ate prime rib, halibut, lobster, scallops and other expensive cuisine,” prosecutors said in their pre-sentence report.
“Lyle was a very proud individual,” said Jeffs Kenton. “He felt everything he did was right. He could do no wrong and he had no qualms about people starving so he could live a lifestyle he liked.”