By Angela Wills
The count is consistently rising as the seventh of eleventh top leaders and members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church has been charged and taken into custody for food stamp fraud and money laundering.
Nephi Steed Allred turned himself in to authorities and was booked into the Washington County Jail on Thursday. An initial court appearance was scheduled for Friday.
Allred, in addition to ten other members, face accusations of diverting food stamp proceeds from authorized beneficiaries to leaders of the FLDS Church to use in ways that they deemed appropriate. The fraudulent transactions amounted to millions of dollars.
There was a raid on Tuesday in which three men were arrested and were being held in custody while they await detention hearings scheduled for Thursday. Lyle Jeffs, the 56 year-old brother of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who is believed to be assisting in the enforcement of his brother’s rule while he (Warren Jeffs) is in a Texas prison and John Clifton Wayman, 56, are being held at the Davis County Jail. Seth Steed Jeffs, 42, is being held in custody in Pennigton County, South Dakota.
Warren Jeffs is currently in a Texas prison for the sexual assault of one of his underage child brides.
Federal prosecutors reached an agreement on Thursday that would allow for the release of three others from the Washington County Jail, under the conditions that they wear GPS ankle monitors, and canceled an upcoming hearing to argue that they should remain in custody. The three, Kristal Meldrum Dutson, 55; Winford Johnson Barlow, 50, and Ruth Peine Barlow, 41, were scheduled to be released from jail on Thursday evening.
Outstanding arrest warrants remained active for Kimball Dee Barlow, 51; Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, 55; Rulon Mormon Barlow, 45, and Preston Yates Barlow.
A lengthy document that was previously presented by prosecutors contended that, due to the unique system that FLDS leaders have designed to hide people and help them avoid apprehension, if those currently in custody were released, they would flee and disappear.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will present their argument in federal court on Friday to retain Wayman in custody as the case progresses. A detention hearing for Seth Jeffs is scheduled for Monday in South Dakota, and one is scheduled for Lyle Jeffs on March 7 in Salt Lake City.