Polygamous leader pleads guilty in fraud case

2016-12-23 16:06
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints women leave the court following a hearing involving John Wayman. (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints women leave the court following a hearing involving John Wayman. (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Salt Lake City - A high-ranking Utah polygamous group leader charged in a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud case has agreed to a plea deal that secured his release from jail after six months.

John Wayman, 57, was one of nearly a dozen people accused of orchestrating a scheme to funnel $12m worth of followers' food stamp benefits into vehicle-purchasing front companies and toward funding leaders' lavish lifestyles.

Defence attorneys had argued the group members were following religious beliefs in sharing what they had with everyone.

Federal prosecutors said they're satisfied with the time Wayman has spent behind bars since meeting with another leader in the middle of the night to plan a church meeting, a violation of his supervised release.

Wayman pleaded guilty to a felony food-stamp fraud charge and was sentenced to time served. Plea deals could be in the works for others charged in the case, prosecutors said.

Days before the deal was signed that set Wayman free, prosecutors successfully argued that he had to stay in jail because he is faithful to the group's prophet Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting girls he considered wives.

Wayman was accused of preaching about the importance of donating resources to the common good as well as once giving a federal benefit card to a member of his household to buy things for someone else, his lawyer Jim Bradshaw said.

Read more on:    us  |  child abuse  |  fraud

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.