The FBI is now offering a $50,000 reward as federal law enforcement officials step up efforts to recapture Lyle Steed Jeffs, a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jeffs has been a fugitive for nearly three months after he slipped out of his GPS ankle monitor and escaped home confinement in Salt Lake City. Jeffs has been charged with several counts of fraud and money laundering after allegedly helping steal more than 12 million dollars from the federal food stamp program. Special agent Eric Barnhart says FBI officials will, at some point, catch up with Jeffs.
“You can stay hidden for a while but not forever. As you recall, his brother was actually placed on our most-wanted list, FBI top ten most-wanted list, in May of 2006," Barnhart explained, "and he is now in prison down in Texas. So it’s really just a matter of time.”
Barnhart says the agency continues to get tips about Jeffs’ possible location.
“We believe that Mr. Jeffs actually did spend some time in the Short Creek area during July of this year. And during that time we have indications that he was in communications with his brother, Warren Steed Jeffs.”
Barnhart encourages anyone who thinks they may have seen Jeffs to contact local authorities or the FBI. He says the $50,000 reward is for information that leads to the arrest of Lyle Jeffs.