FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs has escaped custody

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FLDS Leader Lyle Jeffs Escapes Custody In Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU) -- Polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs has escaped custody, federal authorities confirmed to FOX 13.

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A warrant was been issued for the Fundamentalist LDS Church leader's arrest, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah said Monday.

Jeffs was released from jail on June 9 while he was awaiting trial on food stamp fraud and money laundering charges. His lawyers successfully argued that with a delay in his trial sought by federal prosecutors, he should be released. The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah argued that Jeffs should remain in jail because he is a flight risk.

Images from Lyle Jeffs' case:

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This photo released by the FBI Salt Lake City Division shows Lyle Jeffs. Polygamous sect leader Jeffs has fled home confinement in Salt Lake City less than two weeks after he was let out of jail pending trial on charges in a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme. A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman says a warrant for Jeffs' arrest was issued Sunday, June 19, 2016. (FBI Salt Lake City Division via AP)
FILE - This Feb. 23, 2016, booking file photo released by the Davis County, Utah Jail shows Lyle Jeffs. Authorities say polygamous sect leader Jeffs has fled Salt Lake City, where he was supposed to be on home confinement pending trial on charges in a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme. A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman says a warrant was issued Sunday, June 19, 2016, for Jeffs after he took off over the weekend. No details were available about how he got loose. (Davis County Jail via AP, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, high-ranking polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs leaves the federal courthouse, in Salt Lake City. Polygamous sect leader Jeffs is being let out of jail pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 9, 2016 granted Jeffs' latest request to be released, citing the fact that the other 10 defendants already out have complied with conditions set by the court. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints women leave the Federal Courthouse following detention status hearing for high-ranking polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Jeffs will have to wait to find out if he can leave jail pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints women leave the Federal Courthouse following detention status hearing for high-ranking polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Jeffs will have to wait to find out if he can leave jail pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Roy Jeffs, son of jailed polygamous leader Warren Jeffs, leaves the federal courthouse Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Lyle Jeffs and another polygamous sect leader in Utah are pleading not guilty to orchestrating what prosecutors call a wide-ranging food-stamp fraud scheme. Roy Jeffs is former member of the sect. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Willie Jessop, a former bodyguard for Warren Jeffs, leave the Federal Courthouse following detention status hearing for high-ranking polygamous leader Lyle Jeff,s Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Jeffs will have to wait to find out if he can leave jail pending trial on accusations he helped orchestrate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Nephi, right, and Lyle Jeffs leave the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. Federal labor lawyers say a company regularly used children from a polygamous group as unpaid workers on a southern Utah pecan farm, refuting the company's contention that the kids picked up leftover nuts with their families. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Charlene Jeffs, the former sister-in-law of Warren Jeffs, church leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sect, arrives to testify at the Sandra Day O'Connor United States District Court in the federal civil rights trial against two polygamous towns on the Arizona-Utah line Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Phoenix. Charlene Jeffs is the estranged wife of Lyle Jeffs, Warren Jeffs' brother. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart ruled in favor of the defense, but set conditions of release including an order that Jeffs wear a GPS monitoring device, have no contact with victims, witnesses and co-defendants in the case, or his brother, imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. He was confined to house arrest in Salt Lake County and forbidden from visiting the polygamous strongholds of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

When the Fundamentalist LDS Church leader walked out of the federal courthouse on June 9, he was asked by FOX 13 if he was a flight risk. Jeffs refused to answer.

The FBI would not divulge details of Jeffs' escape, but it is believed he cut his GPS monitoring device and fled the home he was staying at.

Jeffs' defense attorney, Kathryn Nester, did not know that her client had absconded until told of the reports by FOX 13. Over the weekend, she petitioned the court to modify the terms of his release, including allowing him to do consulting work for his son and have some church services brought to him in Salt Lake City.

Related: Warren Jeffs' polygamy case:

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Women and children from the YFZ Ranch, the compound built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are moved by bus to San Angelo, Texas, on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Authorities are investigating allegations of child abuse. (Photo by Khampha Bouaphanh/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Women and children from the YFZ Ranch, the compound built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are moved by bus to San Angelo, Texas, on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Authorities are investigating allegations of child abuse. (Photo by Khampha Bouaphanh/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
Members of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are assisted by law enforcement officials as they board a San Angelo Independent School District bus which is being used to relocate them from Eldorado, Texas, to San Angelo, Texas, Apr. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, left, is driven away from the Tom Green County Courthouse by Sheriff's personnel Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. A West Texas jury has heard audio recordings and diary accounts of polygamist leader Jeffs teaching his 14-year-old "spiritual wife" how to please him sexually. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
FILE - This Aug. 9, 2011, file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Huntsville, Texas. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst said Jeffs is in stable condition, Monday, March 17, 2014, at a Galveston hospital. Hurst says Jeffs was admitted March 11, for treatment of a condition that's not life-threatening. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice, File)
CENTENNIAL PARK, ARIZONA, USA - FEBRUARY, 2008: Trampoline jumping is always a hit in Ray Timpson's family. 17-year-old Rebecca looks after her younger siblings. The Timpson family is part of the small polygamist community of Centennial Park which was founded in 1986 south of the communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. The Centennial Park group split from the FLDS Church led by infamous jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs in 1986 because of doctrinal differences. (Photo by Stephan Gladieu/Getty Images)
UNDATED - UNSPECIFIED: In this handout provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), polygamist Warren Steed Jeffs is pictured on a FBI Ten Most Wanted poster. Jeffs, the fugitive leader of a polygamist Mormon sect, was arrested by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on August 28 during a traffic stop. Jeffs was wanted in Utah and Arizona on charges linked to allegations of arranging marriages between men and underage girls. (Handout by Federal Bureau of Investigation via Getty Images)
Women and children from the YFZ Ranch, the compound built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are moved by bus to San Angelo, Texas, on Sunday, April 6, 2008. Authorities are investigating allegations of child abuse. (Photo by Khampha Bouaphanh/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL PARK, ARIZONA, USA - FEBRUARY, 2008: Some of Ray Timpson's children playing in the garden of the house they share with their very large family consisting of one father, six mothers and 41 children. The Timpson family is part of the small polygamist community of Centennial Park which was founded in 1986 south of the communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. The Centennial Park group split from a group led by infamous jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs in the 1980s because of doctrinal differences. (Photo by Stephan Gladieu/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL PARK, ARIZONA, USA - FEBRUARY, 2008: Trailers in the polygamist town of Colorado City, a community at the border of Utah and Arizona ran by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) led by infamous jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs. (Photo by Stephan Gladieu/Getty Images)
Warren Jeffs (L) watches the jury leave the courtroom to restart their deliberation in his trial 24 September, 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for allegedly coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Douglas C. Pizac (Photo credit should read POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL PARK, ARIZONA, USA - FEBRUARY, 2008: Ariel Hammon, his two wives Helen and Lisa, and nine of their ten children watch cartoons in their house of Centennial Park, a small polygamist community at the border of Utah and Arizona. Founded in 1986 the Centennial Park group was born from a split over doctrine with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) led by infamous jailed polygamist Warren Jeffs and based in the neighboring community of Colorado City. (Photo by Stephan Gladieu/Getty Images)
ST. GEORGE, UT - SEPETEMBER 24: With law enforcement behind him, Warren Jeffs waits for the jury to reconvene for deliberation in his trial September 24, 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for allegedly coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
ST. GEORGE, UT - SEPTEMBER 21: Prosecutor Brock Belnap outlines the elements of the alleged offenses during closing arguments in Warren Jeffs' trial September 21, 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for allegedly coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
ST. GEORGE, UT - SEPTEMBER 18: Defense witness Charlotte Jessop answers questions during Warren Jeffs' trial September 18, 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, former head of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old church-follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
Defense witness Margaret Thomas answers questions during Warren Jeffs' trial 18 September 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, former head of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old church-follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Jud Burkett (Photo credit should read Jud Burkett/AFP/Getty Images)
ST. GEORGE, UT - SEPTEMBER 18: Defense witness Joanna Keate answers questions during Warren Jeffs' trial September 18, 2007 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, former head of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old church-follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. (Photo by Douglas C. Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)
ST. GEORGE, UT - SEPTEMBER 6: Several television trucks are parked outside the 5th Judicial District Courthouse for the first court hearing for Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs September 6, 2006 in St. George, Utah. Jeffs faces sex charges involving an underage girl in an arranged marriage with an older man. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
COLORADO CITY, AZ - SEPTEMBER 6: Women sit on horses September 6, 2006 in Colorado City, Arizona. Warren Jeffs, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the leader of the polygamist Mormon sect living in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah. Jeffs, who will face sex charges involving an underage girl in an arranged marriage with an older man, will have his first court hearing September 6 in St. George, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
HILDALE, UTAH - MARCH 3: A large unfinished house (R) stands in contrast to the finished homes in the compound of the Prophet (L) of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Warren Jeffs March 3, 2004 in Hildale, Utah. Most of the homes in Hildale and Colorado City which is run by the FLDS Church are unfinished. The FLDS Church which believes in Polygamy, and is in legal battles with several former male members of the church over property rights and custody custody of their wives and children after they were kicked out of the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SAN ANGELO, TX - APRIL 9: (TABLOIDS OUT; UTAH MEDIA-SOME RESTRICTIONS APPLY) (R-L) Richard Wright, Willie Jessop, and an unidentified man leave the Tom Green County Courthouse after attorneys for the FLDS church presented their case April 9, 2008 in San Angelo, Texas. Jessop is the former bodyguard for Warren Jeffs. Some 416 children were removed from the polygamous sect's West Texas ranch by officials last week after allegations of abuse were reported. The children were placed in temporary custody of the state. (Photo by Mike Terry/Deseret Morning News/Getty Images)
COLORADO CITY, ARIZONA - MARCH 3: A large church building of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) stands empty and unused for almost a year March 3, 2004 in Colorado City, Arizona after the Prophet of the church Warren Jeffs said the people weren't worthy enough to attend church. The FLDS Church believes in Polygamy, and is in legal battles with several former male members of the church over property rights and custody custody of their wives and children after they were kicked out of the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
In this Dec. 16, 2014 photo, girls stand in a playground in Colorado City, Ariz. The sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, once run by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are split between loyalists who still believe he is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this Dec. 16, 2014 photo, people walk along a street in Hildale, Utah. The sister cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., once run by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are split between loyalists who still believe he is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this Dec. 16, 2014 photo, a girl runs past a street sign in Hildale, Utah. The sister cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., once run by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, are split between loyalists who still believe he is a victim of religious persecution and defectors who are embracing government efforts to pull the town into modern society. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
This Dec. 16, 2014 photo shows the compound built for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Hildale, Utah. Willie Jessop, the former spokesman and bodyguard for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS, has converted the compound in to a bed and breakfast. In defiance of some of Jeffs' rules, he now flies the U.S. flag, keeps the gate open and has torn down part of the wall. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this Dec. 16, 2014 photo, Willie Jessop, the former spokesman and bodyguard for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, stands on the steps of a compound built for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Hildale, Utah. Jessop has converted the compound into a bed and breakfast. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
FILE - Hildale, Utah sits at the base of red rock cliff mountains with its sister city, Colorado City, Ariz. in the foreground in this Thursday, April 20, 2006 file photo. An attorney for local law enforcement in the two polygamous towns, where most residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints run by the group’s jailed leader Warren Jeffs, says the U.S. Justice Department plans to sue both communities, claiming religious discrimination. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
This July 12, 2011 photo shows Texas Parks and Wildlife Capt. Marco Alvizo pose for a photo near Lake Amistad, in Del Rio, Texas. Alvizo pulled over a man in 2004 who led him to a secretive religious compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints _ a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy is the key to heaven_ led by Warren Jeffs. A 2008 raid seized 439 children and led to the arrest of Jeffs, and 11 other sect members, facing charges including sexual assault and bigamy. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
FILE - In this April 7, 2008, file photo, adult members of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather as children play with bottles of bubble water on the grounds of their temporary housing at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark in San Angelo, Texas. Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints _ a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy is the key to heaven _ were subject of a SWAT team raid where 439 children were seized from mothers. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
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Jeffs is among 11 people accused in a massive food stamp fraud scheme. They're accused of ordering FLDS members to hand over food stamp benefits to do with as they wished. Federal prosecutors have claimed in court documents that the fraud exceeds $12 million.

Jeffs is a bishop in the FLDS Church, a polygamous sect based on the Utah-Arizona border with an estimated 10,000 members. The group has fallen under intense scrutiny in recent years over its practices of polygamy, child-bride marriages, child abuse and labor violations and apocalyptic predictions. It's led by Warren Jeffs, who is serving life in a Texas prison for child sex assault related to underage "marriages." Warren Jeffs was once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.

Sam Brower, a private investigator and author of the book "Prophet's Prey," said authorities in southern Utah had been alerted to keep an eye out for any sign of Lyle Jeffs. Ex-members of the polygamous church were frustrated that he was released from jail in the first place.

"I'm not here to say 'I told you so,' but I did," Thomas Jeffs, one of Lyle Jeffs' sons, said in an interview with FOX 13. "It was inevitable."

Thomas Jeffs, who left the church two-and-a-half years ago, said his father will be constantly on the move and assisted by FLDS faithful, and communicate with burner phones. Thomas Jeffs told FOX 13 he helped his father stay hidden from federal authorities when Warren Jeffs was a fugitive from the FBI.

But the young man said he would no longer be helping his father and asked FOX 13 to deliver a message to Lyle Jeffs.

"I know you're watching. Do it for your family, turn yourself in. Stop running. It's stupid. It's not worth it. I mean, you've made the stupidest decision in your life before now," Thomas Jeffs said. "And it's only going to come worse on your family. You think you're going to run, they'll catch you just like they did Warren."

The FBI said anyone with information on Lyle Jeffs' whereabouts is urged to call them at 801-579-1400.

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