Indicted on charges of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme involving federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds, nearly a dozen Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) leaders were arrested yesterday with at least two (Lyle Jeffs and John Wayman) pleading not guilty to the charges in federal court today.
The United States Attorney’s Office expressed concerns that Jeffs, and the others, pose a significant flight risk and asked for detention without bail.
Social media reaction
Reaction from those in surrounding communities, including St. George and other Southern Utah cities, have poured onto social media. Many expressed relief at, what at least appears to be, the beginning of an end that they feel has been a long time coming. Still, others showed their frustration that the process has taken this long, and others lamented that the charges weren’t related to many of the other issues that have plagued the two small towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona (issues that have included accusations of child labor, child rape, religious discrimination, and police corruption). The irony of a group vocally opposed to the federal government abusing a federal assistance program didn’t seem to be lost on anyone.