Warren Jeffs Net Worth

Written by Ivana - Reviewed by Tanja Public Figures

10 min read
Net Worth $ 110,000,000
Real name Warren Steed Jeffs
Source of Wealth Religious leadership, business and property ownership
Profession Religious leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church)
Spouse/Partner 87 wives including Naomi Jeffs (née Jessop)
Date of Birth Dec 3, 1955
Zodiac Sagittarius
Age 67
Gender Male
Height 191 cm / 6 ft 3 inch
Nationality American
Siblings 65 siblings including his closest LeRoy Steed Jeffs, Ward Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Nephi Steed Jeffs, Isaac Steed Jeffs, Seth Steed Jeffs, and a sister Leslie Balmoforth Jeffs

Biography

Warren Steed Jeffs is a religious leader and President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) - a fundamentalist denomination or sect of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormon Church, which practices extreme polygamy.

The FLDS Church is located in an area called the Creek at the Arizona-Utah border. The FLDS is a fundamental fringe that separated from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints more than a century ago.

Warren is a convicted child rapist and polygamist notorious for illegally arranging marriages between underage girls and older members of the Church and taking underage girls as wives. He was charged with illegally arranging marriages between minor girls and adult male members, but fled the charges for which the FBI put him on their “Ten Most Wanted List.”

In 2007, he was a convicted felon on two counts of child sexual assault. He was sentenced in 2011 to a life sentence plus 20 years. Warren was also convicted as an accomplice to rape on two counts and was sentenced to ten years in prison, but his sentence was reversed because of flawed jury instruction.

Before being imprisoned, Warren owned numerous businesses, estates, and construction services, allowing him to amass a large fortune. At the time of his imprisonment, Warren Jeffs’s net worth was estimated at $110 million.

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Early life and Church leadership beginnings

Warren Jeffs was born in Sacramento, two months prematurely. His father, Rulon Jeffs (1909–2002), was the former President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1986 until he died in 2002.

Rulon had 20 wives and 60 children - all siblings to Warren. During his childhood and youth, Warren lived just outside Salt Lake City in Utah.

When he turned 21, he started working as the principal of the Alta Academy - a private school owned by the FLDS Church, located near the Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Even from a young age, Warren was known as a strict adherent of the rules and discipline.

President of the FLDS Church

Before succeeding his father after his death in 2002, Warren served as the counselor to the church leader.

Jeff also held the FLDS titles "President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator" and "President of the Priesthood" - titles with which he can officially succeed as the leader of the FLDS.

When Warren stepped into the leading position, he demanded that church officials hand over his father’s wives. He married all of them except two - the first girl who refused to marry him and was prohibited from marrying in the future, and Rebecca Wall, who escaped from the Church.

Among them was Naomi Jessop, who became Warren’s favorite wife and confidante.

As the ultimate leader of the FLDS Church, Warren had the authority to arrange marriages and discipline male members by re-assigning wives and children to other men in the Church.

Warren continued the extreme practices of the FLDS Church based on the Mormon fundamentalist doctrine of polygamy, whereby if men want to go to heaven and gain salvation, they must take at least three wives.

However, Warren even further radicalized and isolated the FDSL Community. In an interview for the NY Post, one of his sons, Wendell Jeffson explained how Warren, as a self-proclaimed prophet and the FSDL Church, had total control over members’ lives.

Warren Jeffs controlled everything from the things you eat, to the things you wear and — if he could — even the things you think,” Jeffson told The Post.[2]

There was no music, no internet, no TV, no movies, nothing of that nature,” Jeffson also stated for Insider. “He just created an environment where we were only were exposed to things that he wanted us to be exposed to.

He also exiled everyone that challenged his influence and threatened his influence and divided families without a grain of remorse. In 2004, he expelled 20 men from the Short Creek Community (a fundamentalist Mormon settlement in the Arizona Strip dating from 1913, now Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah). He reassigned their wives and children to other male members of the community.

Child sexual abuse, charges and arrest

Warren’s reign was notorious for child rape, sex crime allegations, and convictions.

There are numerous records of previous victims accusing Warren of rape and child sexual abuse. Warren was also charged multiple times with sexual assault of minors, as an accomplice of rape, and illegal arranging of marriages between underage girls and adults.

In 2005, a warrant for his arrest was issued, but Warren was on the run. He was placed on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. During this time, he continued performing. In 2008, pictures of Warren got leaked of him and two underage wives celebrating wedding anniversaries from 2005 and 2006.

Warren Jeffs was eventually arrested on August 28, 2006, after being pulled over on a highway in Nevada in a car with his brother Isaac and his wife, Naomi Jessop. Warren was arrested with $55,000, 4 laptops, 16 cell phones, and wigs and sunglasses for disguise.

His first trial was held in September 2011 in Utah, at which he was found guilty on two counts of being an accomplice to rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison. But his sentence was reserved due to faulty jury instructions.

Warren’s second trial was held in February 2008 in Arizona. During the duration of this period of time, Jeffs had spent nearly two years in jail.

Warren was convicted in August, 2011 in Texas, on two felony counts of sexual assault of children and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. He will be eligible for parole on July 22, 2038.

During his time in prison in Utah, Warren tried to hang himself and went on a lengthy hunger strike, after which a judge ordered for him to be force-fed. In 2011, he was hospitalized after excessive fasting and put in a medically induced coma.

The source of Warren Jeffs's wealth

At the time of his arrest, it was estimated that Warren Jeffs sat on a fortune of $110 million. One may wonder how he managed to gain this wealth and, at the same time, rule over around 10,000 members.

The answer is real estate and construction services. Jeffs and the FLDS Church owned vast portions of land in various states and basically owned the towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah (previously known as Short Creek Community).[3]

All the properties and land in these towns were owned by a church trust called the United Effort Plan (UEP). The UEP owned more than 700 properties with an estimated worth of over $100 million. So as the President and leader of the FLDS, Warren had direct control and ownership over them.

One of the largest properties is the Yearning for Zion Ranch or YFZ Ranch, located near Eldorado in Schleicher County, Texas - an astounding 1,700-acre ranch and home to more than 700 FLDS members.

Additionally, Warren earned money by offering construction services. As a self-proclaimed prophet, church members saw him as the ultimate embodiment of God, and they would work in Jeffs’s construction jobs with very little or no compensation at all, leaving Jeffs with the majority of the profits.

Members were also required to pay tithes to the FLDS and Jeffs, ranging from $500 to $1000 monthly. Several members ran their businesses, but were again controlled by the Church. One of the most profitable was Western Precision, which manufactured parts for the U.S. Department of Defense.

However, members worked for very little or no money, just like in Warren’s construction business.

Jeff had total control over the members’ personal and financial lives, so they risked losing their homes, jobs, and families if they got into a conflict with him. This is how he managed to keep them obedient.

On top of these ventures, Warren and his brother Lyle Jeffs illegally used SNAP funds. SNAP, short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, provides financial support to low-income families to help them buy food products.

Warren also made unqualified members use SNAP funds to buy food and put them in a shared storehouse controlled by the FLDS Church.

Also, the members were only allowed to use the SNAP funds to buy food from FLDS-owned businesses, and then the FLDS used the taxpayer money for illegal purposes.

What happened to the FLDS Church after Warren Jeffs’s arrest?

Currently, Warren Jeffs is serving time at Louis C. Powledge Unit, a prison in Palestine, Texas. Even though he is convicted, current FLDS members still consider Jeffs their prophet and believe he was wrongly arrested.

According to the shocking Netflix documentary “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey,” Warren is allowed to get visits by family and runs the FLDS Church by sending letters to approved contacts containing prophesies and instructions for his members.

The United Effort Plan (UEP) trust that owned FLDS land and properties was in control of the State of Utah and controlled by the court, and now is run by a community board composed of former sect members.

The Yearning for Zion Ranch (YFZ Ranch) was seized by the State of Texas. After the seizure, FLDS members settled in other places, such as Pringle in South Dakota, Mancos in Colorado, Minot in North Dakota, and Grand Marais, Minnesota.[4]

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Conclusion

Warren Jeffs is a religious leader and president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church). He is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for two counts of two counts of child sexual assault.

Before his arrest, Warren had a net worth of more than $110 million, thanks to the large portions of land, real estate, and properties owned by his FLDS Church.

His life and leadership of the FLDS Church have been described in numerous documentaries, including Netflix’s 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey.'

References

  1. Warren Jeffs (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Jeffs (Accessed: January 18, 2023). 

  2. Diaz, A. (2022) Polygamist Cult Leader Warren Jeffs' Son: My Dad Married My 12-Year-Old 'Moms,' New York Post. New York Post. Available at: https://nypost.com/2022/04/26/polygamist-cult-leader-warren-jeffs-son-my-dad-married-my-12-year-old-moms/ (Accessed: January 18, 2023). 

  3. Lerner, J. (2021) Here's How Warren Jeffs Amassed Over $100 Million in Assets Before Going to Jail, Distractify. Distractify. Available at: https://www.distractify.com/p/where-did-warren-jeffs-get-his-money (Accessed: January 18, 2023). 

  4. Serrels, M. (2022) 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' -- What Happened to Warren Jeffs and the FLDS?, CNET. CNET. Available at: https://www.cnet.com/culture/entertainment/keep-sweet-pray-and-obey-what-happened-to-warren-jeffs-and-the-flds/ (Accessed: January 18, 2023).