Let's flashback to the day of the raid in polygamist cities of Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT. There was a lot of press coverage for the raid, but let's focus on what was actually written in the Indictment. If you would like to read more about the press coverage click here.
The indictment maps out exactly how these polygamists were committing food stamp and welfare fraud with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In 2011 the FLDS started what is known as the United Order, which requires each member to give everything to the church. To abide by this practice, FLDS members were required to have all their belongings go through the church Storehouse.
So for the FLDS members this also included their SNAP benefits. The leaders described ways in which they could get their SNAP benefits to the FLDS Storehouse, and how they can avoid suspicion from the government while doing this. According to the indictment, they swiped their SNAP cards at the FLDS owned businesses to pay for food that they did not receive. When food was purchased with their SNAP card, they were required to transport it to the Storehouse where it was treated like communal food and dispersed from the workers at the Storehouse. Some of the leaders took EBT cards from beneficiaries and dispersed them to others who were not eligible (US v Jeffs Et Al Indictment)
The SNAP transaction amounts surpassed "those sales generated by much larger stores like Walmart and Costco" (US v Jeffs Et Al Indictment, p. 4). There is evidence to support that these leaders were utilizing these FLDS businesses as front companies to receive the SNAP benefits from the government, and then the money was being sent to the leaders. The indictment states that one of the leaders receiving the money purchased a new F-150 (US v Jeffs Et Al Indictment).
US v Jeffs Et Al Indictment. (2016). US v Lyle Steed Jeffs, Seth Steed Jeffs, John Clifton Wayman, Kimball Dee Barlow, Nephi Steed Allred, Winford Johnson Barlow, Rulon Mormon Barlow, Ruth Peine Barlow, Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, Kristal Meldrum Dutson, and Preston Yates Barlow. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/doc/300218629/US-v-Jeffs-Et-Al-Indictment