|FLDS families relying on your tax dollars|
By Darcy Spears|
KVBC News 3 - Las Vegas
Since July, our News 3 Investigators have been reporting on how millions of your local tax dollars are being given to FLDS construction companies here in the valley through government contracts. But as Darcy Spears tell us, that's not the only way you're paying for the polygamist way of life.
Food stamps and welfare are government programs that are supposed to be reserved for the poor. Yet these programs are almost exclusively supporting the FLDS families in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. But as we uncovered through inside sources, it's not because they don't make their own money, it's because they're not allowed to keep it.
Poverty is evident in the multitude of unfinished homes in the FLDS communities of Colorado City and Hildale. Former FLDS member Isaac Wyler says people can't afford to finish their houses, let alone eat. "Probably 90 percent of this town relies on the government in one form or another."
Members of the extremist sect rely on our tax dollars to fund a lifestyle of polygamy, underage marriage and untold numbers of illegitimate children. But according to government investigators and ex-communicated FLDS member Isaac Wyler, there are millions of dollars pouring into the FLDS church from members who work in Las Vegas and elsewhere.
"He's got a million dollars a month or more coming in from just the individuals. The construction- those people are tapped for even more than that. I mean, they're tapped for huge amounts of money every month. I call it extortion - if they don't pay up, Warren can pull their workers out from under them just like that and they'll be sitting high and dry."
Until his arrest, Warren Jeffs was reportedly using the money he collected to stay on the run and expand his empire. "That money does not come here. Warren takes that money and spreads it around to his different compounds that he's building around the United States." Now he'll likely use it to pay his legal fees.
"They think they're saving the prophet by turning in all this money." But where does that put the town residents? Probably on food stamps, says Isaac. Leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for legions of followers to support an accused criminal.
Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints are notoriously anti-government, yet they have no problem taking hand-outs. They claim it's God working through the government to provide financial support.
Warren Jeffs is thought to be worth about $100 million dollars, most of which was put into a church trust, which has been frozen by the government since his arrest.
Originally broadcast September 1, 2006
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