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Feds want to seize more Kingston properties, defense hints at a resolution in the case

Posted at 9:49 AM, Jul 18, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal authorities have filed court papers seeking to seize dozens of properties linked to the Kingston polygamous family.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys have suggested in a court filing they are working toward a resolution in the case against Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston. The filings, obtained by FOX 13, show both prosecutors and the defense ratcheting up the stakes ahead of a trial involving members of one of Utah’s largest polygamous groups.

In the government’s filing, the U.S. Department of Justice gives notice that if it prevails at trial, it will seek to seize Washakie Renewable Energy’s plant in northern Utah.

Beyond that, the government seeks to seize Kingston’s home in Sandy, as well as properties across northern Utah, in California and in Turkey and Belize. The feds also want to forfeit a Bugatti, a Lamborghini and Ferrari; assets in banks in Utah and Turkey; a stake in Beck’s Sanitation; and potentially millions of dollars.

Jacob Kingston, his brother, Isaiah; his wife Sally; his mother Rachel; and Turkish businessman Lev Dermen are all set to go on trial at the end of this month on fraud charges stemming from a 2016 IRS raid on Kingston-related businesses. Prosecutors have alleged a massive scheme to bilk taxpayers out of a billion dollars in renewable fuel tax credits at Washakie Renewable Energy. Civil lawsuits have claimed the company produced no biofuels, something Kingston’s lawyers have denied.

Jacob Kingston’s attorneys have been pushing to have any discussion of polygamy or the family’s faith kept out of their upcoming trial. They argue that given Utah’s fraught history with it, mention of it by witnesses or the government is inflammatory and could be prejudicial against his right to a fair trial.

A hearing on that was abruptly rescheduled when Kingston’s attorneys Marc Agnifilo and Wally Bugden suggested in a filing they could be working on a resolution.

“Kingston makes this request with the consent of the government because of serious discussions that appear to be leading to an immediate resolution of his case,” they wrote.