SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office has filed notice it intends to seize property and potentially millions in cash from a series of raids on pawn shops with links to the Kingston polygamous group.
FOX 13 was there earlier this year when seven pawn shops were raided, including Sportsman Fastcash in West Valley City and Salt Lake City; Xtreme Pawn in Kearns, West Jordan, Riverton, and Lindon; and Big Dog Pawn & Jewelry located in Murray. The businesses were accused of purchasing property stolen from other retailers.
“This investigation began when the Home Depot approached Unified Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office with concerns about the amount of losses it was suffering due to retail theft in Utah. According to Home Depot, it has lost around 60 million dollars to theft in Utah over the last five years,” said Dave Carlson, the Justice Division Director for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, said in a prepared statement.
Some of the businesses are operated by members of the Kingston polygamous group, also known as the Davis County Cooperative Society, according to ownership records filed with court documents. No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the raid.
“The alleged basis for seizing the currency and property will be demonstrated to be without cause,” said Scott Williams, an attorney for one of the pawn shops.
Recently, other members of the group have faced federal tax fraud and money laundering charges. Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston and his brother, Isaiah Kingston, are accused in a billion dollar scheme to defraud the federal government in renewable fuel tax credits.
The Utah Attorney General’s forfeiture action means that the state would seize any stolen property or cash. Victims whose property was stolen would have the ability to petition the courts to recover the merchandise. Any property or money not claimed then goes to the state.