Former FLDS members helped bring Lyle Jeffs down

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) -  Dowayne Barlow called it the "law of the harvest" meaning what goes around, comes around.

And the former FLDS member said it finally caught up to Lyle Jeffs.

Jeffs was sentenced to 57 months in prison Wednesday for food stamp fraud. He was a former bishop for the polygamous FLDS communities in Hildale Utah and Colorado City Arizona.

As part of the court record, federal prosecutors produced statements from members who witnessed the fraud.

"That was some of the inequality that was so out of balance in this situation," said Dowayne Barlow, one of those who received a subpoena from the FBI.  "The Jeffs were takers, they were not thrivers and givers. They were takers.

He was referring to Warren Jeffs, the FLDS prophet who is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.  Lyle Jeffs was the other.

"I felt like the issues were so egregious that it's time to step up and start talking," he said about his statements to the FBI.

Barlow claimed he was there when Jeffs unveiled the  scheme in 2011.

The plan called for members to use their food stamps (SNAP benefits) for FLDS ordered food and then take it to FLDS owned warehouses.  It's alleged some of the food was laundered into money.

"We realized part of the whole program that Lyle had going was food stamps for cash and it's explicitly illegal," Barlow said.

But he was reluctant to question Jeffs authority because he ruled with an iron hand.

Barlow said his wife had no choice.

"In (wife's) testimony, it includes not receiving anything at all just swiping the card and walking out the door," he said. "That's the problem that we had.  That there was nothing given in return.  It was swipe the card and walk away."

Barlow said he was forced out by Jeffs ordered purge of men living in the FLDS community.  But his his family remained and lived with several other members.

"They were given several ounces of meat per week," Barlow said.  "No where near enough to take care of a household of 40."

But he said Jeffs ate well while families went hungry.

"Lyle's high standard of living was on display," he said. "Everybody saw it.  He would not eat in the common table.  His table was setup.  Every time it was set up it, it was setup very nicely and the food was high standard food."

Prime rib, lobster and scallops were on his menu according to Barlow.

He said Jeffs' apology Thursday before a federal judge should have been extended to others.

"Well good grief Lyle, what about going before the people and asking for forgiveness," Barlow said.  "Of the hundreds you've imploded and destroyed and taken from."

Barlow has since reunited with his family and living in Arizona.  He said life is good on the outside.

More Stories

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center