Leaders of polygamous sect accused of food stamp fraud
SALT LAKE CITY — Several top leaders from Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect were arrested Tuesday on federal accusations of food stamp fraud and money laundering — marking one of the biggest crackdowns on the group in years.
The charges are the government's latest move targeting the sect based on the Utah-Arizona border, coinciding with legal battles in two states over child labor and discrimination against nonbelievers.
Prosecutors accuse church leaders of orchestrating a years-long fraud scheme instructing members how to use food stamp benefits illegally for the benefit of the faith and avoid getting caught, according to an indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah.
Eleven people were charged in the scheme, including Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs, top-ranking leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and brothers of imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs.
Lyle Jeffs runs the day-to-day operations in the polygamous community of Hildale, Utah, while Seth Jeffs leads a branch of the group in South Dakota. Their brother is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting girls he considered brides at a secretive church compound in that state. — AP
At least three dead after twisters rake South
KENNER, La. — A suspected tornado ripped through a Louisiana recreational vehicle park Tuesday, leaving a mangled mess of smashed trailers and killing at least two people, officials said.
In neighboring Mississippi, authorities said one person died when a possible tornado hit a mobile home.
St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin said authorities were still looking for people believed to be trapped under the debris in the recreational park.
The meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service's southeast Louisiana office said that at least seven tornadoes had hit southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
Ken Graham said that number included the one that slammed into the park in Convent, Louisiana, and one that killed a person near Purvis, Mississippi. — AP
CDC probes 14 reports of Zika infection spread by sex
NEW YORK — U.S. health officials are investigating 14 possible Zika infections that may have been spread through sex.
The cases all involve men who visited areas with Zika outbreaks and who may have infected their female sex partners, who had not traveled to those areas.
Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquito bites, and sexual transmission has been considered rare. There have been two reported cases, including a recent one in Texas, and at least two other reports of the Zika virus found in semen.
Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 14 possible cases of sexual transmission in the U.S. include two women. — AP
Woman guilty of cutting baby from stranger's womb
BOULDER, Colo. — A Colorado woman who prosecutors said was obsessed with having a baby and concocted elaborate lies to convince those close to her that she was pregnant was convicted Tuesday of cutting a nearly 8-month-old fetus from a stranger's womb.
Jurors convicted Dynel Lane, 36, of attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy in the March 2015 attack on Michelle Wilkins. Prosecutors said they could not charge Lane with murder in the death of the unborn girl because a coroner found no evidence the fetus lived outside the womb. — AP