The FBI released surveillance video of a fundamentalist Mormon sect carrying out an $11 million food stamp fraud scheme after its ringleader had been sentenced to prison.
The video shows several women wearing old-fashioned, long dresses shopping at Meadowayne Dairy in Hildale, Utah, with one of the women exchanging food stamp benefits for a small bag before entering her car.
The FBI used a drone to follow the woman’s vehicle as she drove from the convenience store to a Bishop’s Storehouse run by the fundamentalist Mormon sect.
Surveillance footage caught her delivering the goods to another female member of the sect who loaded the items into a shipping container.
The agency recorded hundreds of hours of surveillance footage from hidden cameras smuggled into the sect’s stores and aerial drones. FBI agents also interviewed former members of the sect.
A judge sentenced Lyle Jeffs, the former polygamous sect leader believed to be behind the food stamp fraud, to nearly five years in prison Tuesday for conducting the scheme and going on the lam while awaiting trial.
Prosecutors accused Jeffs of running an $11 million food stamp scheme that involved transferring benefits to a communal warehouse and several front companies.
Former members of the sect claimed that Jeffs and other leaders used the money from the scam to dine on “shrimp and lobster” while others in the community starved.
The judge also ordered Jeffs to pay $1 million in restitution.