Kingston brothers won’t be released from jail, judge rules

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has refused to release the CEO of Washakie Renewable Energy and his brother from jail.

In an order handed down late Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells refused requests by Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston and his brother, Isaiah.

“Based on the totality of the evidence in the record, this court finds the government has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that Jacob is a serious flight risk. First, given the nature and circumstances of the charges, Jacob faces a potential sentence of 417 years to life. Second, the evidence shows he has ties to Turkey (at the very least there is evidence of wire transfers of $134 million from Washakie to bank accounts in Turkey),” she wrote.

“Third, Jacob submitted false statements under oath to the Southern District of New York and was boarding a plane en route to Turkey with members of his family at the time of his arrest. Finally, the government has proffered evidence supporting allegations that Jacob threatened potential witnesses and tried to bribe law enforcement officials.”

Isaiah Kingston, the judge wrote, had provided no new information justifying a release.

The Kingstons are charged in a half-billion dollar fraud scheme involving renewable fuel tax credits. It stems from a 2016 raid by the IRS on businesses linked to the Kingston polygamous family. Jacob Kingston’s wife, Sally, and his mother, Rachel, were recently charged. Also facing an indictment in connection with the case is Turkish businessman Lev Dermen.

Federal prosecutors have alleged Washakie bought and sold biofuel products and falsified documents to claim more than $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits. In civil lawsuits against Washakie, the company has been accused of producing no biofuels.

The defendants have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Read the judge’s order here:

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