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Polygamous sect leader Jeffs pleads guilty to fraud, escape

SALT LAKE CITY — A polygamous sect leader recaptured after a year on the run has pleaded guilty in escape and food-stamp fraud cases.

Lyle Jeffs entered the pleas in Salt Lake City’s federal court Wednesday.

He was charged in what prosecutors call a multimillion-dollar food-stamp fraud scheme and his escape from home confinement.

Jeffs was awaiting trial in the food-stamp case when he slipped off his ankle monitor in June 2016.

He was recaptured in South Dakota this summer after pawning two pairs of pliers while apparently living out of his pickup truck.

Jeffs was one of 11 members of the polygamous group charged in the case where prosecutors say food-stamp benefits were funneled to pay for things like a tractor and a truck.

The other defendants have agreed to plea deals or seen the charges dismissed.

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