Feb 24, 2016 7:09 PM by News Staff
Salt Lake City (AP) - Three of the 11 people accused in what prosecutors say was a multi-million-dollar food stamp fraud scheme orchestrated by polygamous leaders have pleaded not guilty in southern Utah.
The Spectrum of St. George reports that two women and a man appeared in court for the first time Wednesday.
A lawyer for one, 55-year-old Kristal Meldrum Dutson, says she is a hardworking mother of 15 with no criminal record.
A total of 11 people have been accused of diverting at least $12 million worth of federal benefits by telling hundreds of members to buy things and give them to a church warehouse or using the food stamps in sect-owned stores without actually getting anything in return.
Two group leaders have also pleaded not guilty. Five of those indicted have not yet been arrested.