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Feds ask judge to seize Kingston properties, more than $500 million in judgment

Washakie Renewable Energy
Posted at 12:55 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 14:55:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to seize dozens of properties tied to the Kingston polygamous family and impose a $511 million monetary judgment against former Washakie Renewable Energy CEO Jacob Kingston and his brother, Isaiah.

The request was included in a new court filing in U.S. District Court that listed properties scattered across northern Utah and even assets the federal government identified in Turkey and Belize. It includes the former Washakie Renewable Energy plant near Plymouth.

"The interests in the real properties ... which were purchased by the Order entities using proceeds from the defendants’ fraud are forfeitable as property traceable to the property involved in the money laundering, and as property involved in the money laundering transactions themselves," assistant U.S. Attorney Cy Castle wrote, referencing another name for the Davis County Cooperative Society (also known as the Kingston group).

"To the extent the money laundering transactions were conducted in order to build up the Order in disguised and concealed manners, the property itself, and any interest in these properties held by the participants in the transactions, i.e., the Order entities, are forfeitable as property involved in money laundering transactions."

They attached a long list of items to be forfeited, including homes and property and even a Bugatti and a Lamborghini.

In previous court filings, attorneys representing an entity called New Washakie Ranch challenged some of the forfeiture, including the land under which the plant is located.

"The logic seems to be that if some members of this religious group engaged in this conduct, it is acceptable for the Court to conclude that another member of the group might have done the same thing," attorney James Bradshaw wrote.

Federal prosecutors asked for a $511 million judgment against Jacob and Isaiah Kingston, but offered to lop some of the money off based on what was forfeited. The dollar amount is similar to how much the Kingstons were accused of taking from the government in a fuel tax credits scheme.

The case began in 2016 when IRS agents raided businesses tied to the Kingstons. Ultimately, prosecutors secured plea deals from Jacob Kingston, his brother, Isaiah; mother, Rachel; and wife, Sally. A man accused of being a business partner, Lev Dermen, was convicted by a jury earlier this year.

Washakie Renewable Energy was a significant player politically, with major contributions to Utah lawmakers, Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Republican Party. When the raid first took place, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes placed a $40,000 campaign contribution from the Kingstons into escrow (and later acknowledged spending it).