Seth Jeffs, who previously pleaded not guilty in the case, on Wednesday changed his plea to guilty in exchanged for a reduced sentence. The deal allows Jeffs to be released immediately, not have to pay restitution, serve probation or pay a $100 fine. He also will not be charged with additional crimes related to the case.
On Dec. 22, FLDS official John Wayman pleaded guilty and took advantage of the plea deal. Wayman’s attorney told the judge that if his client had not taken the deal, the defense plan was to argue for religious freedom.
The case stems from a federal investigation that found FLDS Church leaders were ordering the legal recipients of food stamps to turn them over for use by top leaders and other group members. The charges allege that some of the benefits were used to make non-food purchases.
Ten of the 11 charged in the case have been offered the same deal in exchange for pleading guilty. Only church leader Lyle Jeffs, who escaped ordered home confinement and remains a fugitive, has not been offered the deal.