Polygamous Leader Lyle Jeffs Nabbed After Nearly a Year on the Run
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints honcho was caught Wednesday in South Dakota, according to the FBI's Salt Lake City office.
His arrest came nearly a year after he gave feds the slip, literally, while awaiting trial for his alleged role in a food stamp fraud scheme. He pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges.
It is believed that he lubricated his ankle monitor with olive oil to slide the device off his leg. He then drove away from the Salt Lake City house where he was confined while awaiting trial.
A warrant was issued for the 57-year-old's arrest on June 19.
Jeffs' escape came about a month after a judge released him from jail as he awaited trial in the alleged multi-million dollar food stamp scheme. He was ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor and not leave his home except for work, the doctor and court.
Prosecutors objected to Jeffs' release, calling him a flight risk.
Lyle Jeffs reportedly runs the day-to-day operations in the polygamous community of Hildale, Utah.
Jeffs and 10 other defendants were accused of helping to divert food stamp benefit proceeds from authorized beneficiaries to leaders of the FLDS Church for use by ineligible beneficiaries and for unapproved purposes.
After he vanished, the trial went on without him. Nine of the 10 defendants took plea deals, while charges were dropped against the remaining suspect.
Jeffs' brother Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the FLDS church, is currently serving a life sentence in Texas after he was convicted of sexually assaulting girls he called his brides.
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