Skip to content
relates to The Polygamist Accused of Scamming the U.S. Out of $500 Million
Illustration: Martin Groch for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Polygamist Accused of Scamming the U.S. Out of $500 Million

Prosecutors have charged Jacob Kingston, a member in a shadowy Mormon offshoot known as the Order, with collecting a half-billion dollars in biodiesel credits his company didn’t deserve.

On the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2018, federal agents fanned out across the Salt Lake City airport. They were looking for Jacob Kingston. He was 42, with short, dark hair and a salt-and-pepper beard. According to the IRS, Kingston had defrauded the U.S. government of more than a half-billion dollars, and now he was fleeing to Turkey. The agents feared that if he boarded KLM flight 6026, he’d never come back.

Kingston is a member of the Order, the largest Mormon polygamist clan in the U.S. Authorities call it an organized crime group. Concentrated in Salt Lake City, its 10,000 members control more than 100 businesses in the West, including a casino in Southern California and a cattle ranch on the Nevada border. Closer to home, it runs a tactical arms company that specializes in semiautomatic weapons.