SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a food stamp fraud case against a polygamist sect (all times local):
A federal judge has ruled that a polygamist leader accused of orchestrating a yearslong, multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud will remain behind bars as he awaits trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead said Monday that Lyle Jeffs not only defrauded the federal government out of taxpayer funds but deprived needy people from getting food.
Jeffs' attorneys argued that he's not dangerous and has deep connections to the polygamist community on the Utah-Arizona border. Attorney Kathryn Nester said prosecutors are attacking Jeffs for his personal beliefs.
Prosecutors had said Jeffs could have hidden in the group's elaborate network of houses if he was released.
He is one of 11 people indicted on food stamp fraud and money laundering charges. He runs the day-to-day operations for the group.
A member of the town council in a polygamous community on the Utah-Arizona border says sect leader Lyle Jeffs wouldn't flee if allowed out of jail as he awaits trial on allegations of food stamp fraud.
Edwin Barlow testified Monday in a Salt Lake City hearing that thousands of people rely on Lyle Jeffs because he's the group's spiritual leader. Barlow says Jeffs loves those people too much to abandon them.
Barlow portrayed the community as a normal, welcoming, law-abiding community.
Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to keep Jeffs behind bars, arguing he would hide in the group's elaborate network of houses.
Jeffs is one of one of 11 people the sect indicted on fraud and money laundering charges.
Jeffs has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors are expected to ask a federal judge in Utah Monday to keep polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs behind bars as he awaits trial on allegations of food stamp fraud.
Authorities argue that if allowed out on bail, Lyle Jeffs would hide in the group's elaborate network of houses, using aliases, disguises and false identification.
He is one of one of 11 people from a polygamous sect on the Utah-Arizona border indicted on fraud and money laundering charges.
Investigators say Lyle Jeffs runs the day-to-day operations for the group with his brother Warren Jeffs serving a life prison sentence.
Lyle Jeffs has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors have allowed other suspects out while the case plays out, but are fighting to keep Lyle Jeffs and three other top-tier leaders behind bars.