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.

SEE ALSO: 19-year-old charged after allegedly trying to assassinate Donald Trump

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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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)
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)
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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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