Washakie Renewable Energy CEO’s wife, mother charged in connection with Kingston fraud case

Posted at 2:27 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 17:57:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal grand jury has handed down new charges in a half-billion dollar fraud case against members of the Kingston polygamous family.

A superseding indictment unsealed on Tuesday filed new fraud and money laundering charges against Rachel Kingston, the mother of Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston. Fraud and money laundering charges were also filed against Sally Kingston, Jacob Kingston’s wife.

Court records show Rachel Kingston and Sally Kingston appeared before a federal judge on Tuesday and were not held in custody.

FOX 13 first reported in December that federal prosecutors had announced they were seeking additional charges against Jacob Kingston; his brother, Isaiah; Turkish businessman Lev Dermen and others. The new indictment levels a series of money laundering or fraud charges against all of them.

Federal prosecutors have alleged Washakie bought and sold biofuel products and falsified documents to claim more than $500 million in renewable fuel tax credits. In civil lawsuits against Washakie, the company has been accused of producing no biofuels.

The case stems from a 2016 raid by the IRS on businesses linked to the Kingston polygamous family. In new court filings, the Davis County Cooperative and Latter-Day Church of Christ, as well as a number of businesses linked to the group, have asked a judge to block use of documents seized from them.

In 2016, FOX 13 found Washakie Renewable Energy was a heavy contributor on Utah’s Capitol Hill, making numerous political donations to members of the legislature, the governor, attorney general and Utah Republican Party. The company also advertised heavily at Utah Jazz games and Megaplex movie theaters.

The case has also raised some connections between the Kingstons, who are prominent members of one of Utah’s largest fundamentalist Mormon groups, and Turkish political leaders. Photos published in Turkish news media last year showed Jacob Kingston meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other political leaders when he was pitching business investments there.

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. The Kingstons and Dermen have denied the accusations and asked a judge to release them from jail pending trial.

Dermen recently filed court papers seeking to be tried separately from his co-defendants.

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