A young woman who escaped a polygamous and incestuous escape from the Mormon sect broke her silence to tell how she tipped the FBI to the alleged $ 511 million tax scandal.
Mary Nelson, 23, spoke out in a new episode of whistleblowers went on air on Friday night and described how she left the group at the age of 17 with her 26-year-old secret friend Bryan Nelson, whom she was getting married with.
Growing up in the Kingston Clan, known by members like & # 39; The Order & # 39 ;, in Salt Lake County, Utah, Nelson says that her father had 18 wives and that she had more than 200 siblings.
Mary Nelson, 23, spoke out in a new episode of Whistleblowers that aired Friday night to describe how she fled the group at the age of 17 with her secret friend Bryan, now her husband
Nelson says her father had 18 wives and at least 200 children. The family is seen above
When her family found out about her secret boyfriend Bryan, a student at Salt Lake Community College, Nelson says her mother disapproved of her and started following her like a hawk.
The cult, founded by Charles Kingston in 1935, developed genetic theories that inbreeding could be used to purify the family bloodline of Kingston & # 39; and & # 39; perfect & # 39 ;.
Nelson, seen as a teenager, says she ran away in 2013 when she was ordered to marry her cousin
In 2013, when she was 17, Nelson said her family ordered her to marry her own cousin, who was also 17.
& # 39; They would give you instructions. They say: & # 39; Don't ask questions & # 39; & # 39 ;, she said in the new episode.
Nelson claimed in a lawsuit she later filed that her mother let her sleep in bed with her to prevent her from slipping out, and the only bathroom she was allowed to use was one attached to her mother's bedroom and none door.
In a sworn sworn statement, Nelson's mother replied that she had taken such extreme measures to see her daughter or that there was a plan for the teenager at the time to marry a cousin. The suit was kept confidential.
When she was 17, Nelson planned her escape with the help of her then friend Bryan and his father, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
She threw her wallet out of her mother's house in Taylorsville and hurried through Millrace Park to a meeting place where Bryan and his father were waiting with a car.
While hiding in the back seat, they drove to a waiting rental car in the parking lot of a supermarket to change vehicles in case they were followed.
The couple decides to expose the alleged crime of the cult
It was Bryan who hatched the plan to expose alleged crimes under the cult.
He said the more he heard about the way the group worked, the more convinced he was that crime was involved.
& # 39; It looked more like an organized crime family & # 39 ;, Mary Nelson told whistleblowers.
Nelson told him about her work as a teenager in the private & # 39; bank & # 39; of the group, an office where members deposit their salary and withdraw all the money they needed.
Nelson is seen as working in the private & # 39; bank & # 39; of the group, an office where members deposit their salary and send out all the money they needed
She now admits that she was routinely instructed to commit counterfeiting while working at the office.
& # 39; So we only got piles and piles of checks and just signed them, they signed … and they just set that and … exactly what account they needed & # 39 ;, she said in the new episode.
The couple came forward and told FBI agents what Mary knew.
An investigation was started and in 2016, federal agents raided several companies associated with the Kingston clan.
The FBI and the IRS claimed that the companies were involved in a complex money laundering program, where money was thrown to finance the lush lifestyle of prominent section members, while others lived in poverty.
The main business goal in the research was Washakie Renewable Energy, founded by Mary & # 39; s first cousins Isaiah and Jacob Kingston.
Isaiah and Jacob Kingston founded Washakie Renewable Energy, believed to be the largest and most profitable enterprise in the cult
Mary & # 39; s first cousins Isaiah Kingston (left) and Jacob Kingston (right) have been charged in what prosecutors claim it was a $ 511 million theft from the government
Prosecutors say the company was conducting extensive tax fraud, preparing the books to make it look like it was producing massive amounts of renewable biofuel, and claiming a tax reduction for every gallon.
The two cousins and three other people have been charged in what prosecutors claim it was a $ 511 million theft from the government.
Prosecutors say that much of that money was hidden in Turkey, while others were used to buy expensive mansions and cars, including a 2010 Bugatti Veyron, which has a sticker price of $ 1.7 million.
The defendants have not pleaded guilty and the cousins are expected to be tried by the federal court in Salt Lake City in July.
Maria is expected to testify, and she and Bryan say they live in fear of retribution.
& # 39; My motivation to do all this, & # 39; Mary told the Tribune, & # 39; is to show people (in the Order) what they live and who they follow is … not true. & # 39;
Mary said her reason to speak out & # 39; is to show people (in the Order) what they live and who they follow is … not true & # 39;
& # 39; And you can have a life outside of the Order, and you can live a good life and you can do everything you ever wanted, without anyone giving you the OK to have that control over you, & # 39; she said.
In response to a CBS request for comment and an interview, the Kingston group said they strongly condemn & # 39; fraudulent business practices and emphasize that this behavior is completely contrary to our beliefs and principles & # 39 ;.
In addition, they say that & # 39; business owners who are members of the group (the group) have the autonomy to make their own business decisions. & # 39;
The cult has repeatedly said over the years that it encourages all its members to follow the law.
The episode & # 39; Polygamy, Power and Profits: The Case Against the Kingstons & # 39; will be broadcast on Friday 31 May at 8 pm ET on CBS.
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