Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston asks to be released from jail

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 22:44:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston is offering to post a $10 million bond to be released from jail as he awaits trial on fraud charges.

In a recent court filing, Kingston’s attorneys asked for his release arguing he will remain in the state of Utah, wear a GPS monitoring device and he and his family would surrender their passports.

Jacob Kingston, the CEO of Washakie Renewable Energy, leaves court with his lawyers on August 7, 2018. (Image by Manuel Rodriguez, FOX 13 News)

“The bond will also be co-signed by 45 members of Kingston’s family who exert
powerful moral suasion over him, including all six of his adult children (the identities of whom will be provided in a non-public filing),” Kinston attorneys Marc Agnifilo and Wally Bugden wrote. “The bond will be fully secured by equity in real property owned by members of Kingston’s family who again exert powerful moral suasion over him (the addresses will be provided in a non-public filing).”

Kingston, who is a member of the Kingston polygamous family, is facing charges alongside his brother, Isaiah Kingston, and Turkish businessman Lev Dermen in connection with what the feds claim is a half-billion tax fraud scheme. The case stems from a 2016 raid by the IRS on Kingston’s home and businesses related to his family. In civil lawsuits against Jacob Kingston, lawyers have claimed Washakie Renewable Energy produced no biofuels.

In their motion filed in U.S. District Court last week, Kingston’s attorneys disputed that.

“The gravamen of the Government’s case is comprised of people who themselves own or control renewable energy companies who have been caught, prosecuted and pleaded guilty to tax schemes independent of anything involving Kingston. Many of these people, facing decades in prison, have now implicated Kingston as being complicit in criminal activity for which they have pleaded guilty,” they wrote, adding:

“We anticipate that the self-serving statements of these witnesses will not be corroborated by objective, independent evidence. On the contrary, we anticipate that the more objective forms of evidence, such as records maintained by Washakie and other entities, will demonstrate that Kingston in fact produced, imported or exported the types and quantities of fuels claimed, or that if the requisite amount of biodiesel was not created, this was not the result of Kingston’s own conduct and was done without his knowledge or knowing participation.”

Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston and Lev Dermen. (FOX 13 file image)

The feds have accused the Kingstons and Dermen of stashing millions in bank accounts in Turkey and planning to flee to the country to avoid prosecution (Jacob Kingston previously pitched business to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). In court papers, defense attorney said Kingston, whom federal agents have said was arrested en route to Salt Lake City International Airport, was planning to go there as his son honeymooned in the country but planned to return.

“Rather, he booked round-trip air travel because this was a family vacation,” they wrote.

Kingston’s attorneys insisted he poses no danger or flight risk and asked a judge to release him from custody. Government lawyers are expected to respond soon.

FOX 13 reported last month that federal prosecutors were planning to level more charges against the Kingstons, Dermen and other unnamed individuals in connection with the case. They told a judge at a prior hearing that those charges were anticipated by mid-January.

Read the court filing here (refresh the page if it doesn’t immediately load):