Judge sets September trial for polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs

A booking mug shot of Lyle Jeffs. (Image via Tooele County Sheriff's Office)

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has scheduled a trial beginning in September for polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs.

In an order issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart set a 10-day trial beginning Sept. 14. Jeffs will face food stamp fraud-related charges and an additional charge of failure to appear stemming from his year on the lam.

Jeffs, once a bishop in the Fundamentalist LDS Church, is among 11 members of the Utah-based polygamous church who were accused of food stamp fraud and money laundering. FLDS faithful were ordered to hand over food stamp benefits to church leaders to do with as they wished. Federal prosecutors have alleged the scheme bilked taxpayers out of more than $12 million.

The other defendants in the case struck plea deals or had charges dismissed.

Jeffs disappeared last year while on home confinement. He is accused of slipping out of a GPS monitoring device and going on the run. He was arrested last month in South Dakota after trying to pawn some tools.

Jeffs is the brother of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas for child sex assault stemming from underage “marriages.”