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Polygamous sect's South Dakota compound in foreclosure

Polygamous sect's South Dakota compound in foreclosure

PRINGLE, S.D. (AP) — A compound in South Dakota's Black Hills held by a secretive polygamous sect is for sale after the group defaulted on a $1.6 million loan, according to a local sheriff.

Court documents show the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' property near Pringle in Custer County is in foreclosure, KELO-TV reported.

The 140-acre (57-hectare) property includes nine parcels of land. It will be sold as one during an auction Feb. 25 at the Custer County Courthouse, said Sheriff Marty Mechaley. The compound sits along a gravel road and is shielded from view by tall pine trees, a privacy fence and a guard tower.

The FLDS is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose members believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the faith abandoned the practice in 1890 and prohibits it today.

Seth Jeffs, who authorities have said led the FLDS compound in South Dakota, is the brother of Warren Jeffs, who is considered by the group to be a prophet who speaks for God. Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered to be his brides.

In recent years, the group has lost hundreds of members and control of the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, amid a major leadership void started by Warren Jeffs' imprisonment.

Seth Jeffs took a plea deal in a multimillion-dollar food-stamp fraud case in 2016. His brother Lyle Jeffs was sentenced in 2017 to prison for his role in carrying out the scheme.