SALT LAKE CITY — More of the people charged with food stamp fraud involving the Fundamentalist LDS Church are expected to plead guilty tomorrow, FOX 13 has confirmed.
A hearing has been scheduled Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. George for Kimball Dee Barlow, Winford Johnson Barlow, Rulon Mormon Barlow, Ruth Peine Barlow, Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, Kristal Meldrum Dutson, and Preston Yates Barlow to make a change of plea.
Aside from Nephi Steed Allred and fugitive FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs, they are the remaining defendants in the massive case.
In total, 11 FLDS members were indicted on charges of food stamp fraud and money laundering. They’re accused of ordering faithful members of the Utah-based polygamous sect to hand over Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to leaders. The feds claim the fraud exceeds $12 million in taxpayer dollars.
Last month, high-ranking FLDS Church members Seth Jeffs and John Wayman pleaded guilty to felony food stamp fraud charges. They were given credit for time served and released from jail immediately. Wayman and Jeffs were also given no probation, no restitution and no additional charges.
Kimball Barlow’s defense attorney told FOX 13 last month that Barlow’s deal with the government called for him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and get no jail time. The other defendants are believed to have been offered similar deals by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah.
The plea bargains would all but wrap up a major food stamp fraud case leveled when the FBI raided the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., back in February.
Also, Nephi Steed Allred is not scheduled to make a plea Wednesday but a judge is scheduled to consider a motion to suppress evidence at a later date.
FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs (the brother of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs) is still on the lam. In July, shortly after being released from jail, he escaped from home confinement. FOX 13 first reported the FBI believed Lyle Jeffs used olive oil to slip out of a GPS monitoring device.