(SD)-Head Of Sect's Pringle Compound Takes Plea Deal In Food-Stamp Fraud Case
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - The man in charge of a secretive fenced compound in the southern Black Hills near Pringle owned by a polygamous religious sect has been released from jail after pleading guilty in a multimillion-dollar food-stamp fraud case.
42-year old Seth Jeffs, brother of imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs, pleaded guilty this morning in Salt Lake City to fraud for misusing food stamps with prosecutors dropping conspiracy and money laundering charges
The fraud conviction is a felony that carried up to 20 years behind bars, but the federal prosecutors saying they're satisfied with the six months that Jeffs has served in jail since he was arrested in February following a multiyear federal investigation.
Jeffs was among 11 people charged in February with funneling the food stamp benefits of followers into front companies and using them to fund lavish lifestyles for the leaders Last week, fellow defendant John Wayman agreed to a similar plea deal that secured his release after six months in jail.
Another high-profile defendant , Lyle Jeffs - also a brother of Warren Jeffs, remains on the run after escaping home confinement this summer.
Warren Jeffs gained international notoriety in May 2006 when he was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution on Utah state charges related to his alleged arrangement of illegal marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls.
He was convicted in 2007 of two counts of being an accomplice to rape and sentenced to 10 years to life, but the Utah Supreme Court threw out the convictions 3 years later...saying the jury had not been given correct instructions before deliberating.
Jeffs was convicted the following year in Texas on two felony counts of child sexual assault and is currently serving a sentence of life plus 20 years.
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