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Utah Investigates FLDS Members For Food Stamp Fraud
The state of Utah is investigating allegations of food stamp fraud among members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The state action follows a federal case that concluded last year. Lyle Jeffs, the brother of the group’s leader, was sentenced for fraud and for escaping authorities.
Bethany Hyatt, spokeswoman for Utah’s Department of Workforce Services, said Utah will look at individual church members, whereas the federal probe investigated retail stores run by the FLDS.
"We want to make sure that they understand how SNAP benefits work," she said of FLDS members who receive SNAP. "Only where we have clear and convincing evidence that someone intentionally misused their SNAP benefit would we proceed further."
About 150 FLDS families in Utah receive SNAP benefits, or food stamps.
Hyatt said Utah’s only looking at what individuals do at a retail store, not at what they do at home.
If fraud is found, only that individual would lose his or her SNAP eligibility for a certain period of time. In other words, an entire household wouldn't lose its SNAP benefit in case of fraud.
Hyatt said they want to make sure children who need healthy food can get it.