The Kingstons: the polygamists that Big Love toned down to make them believeable for TV.
Also featuring Turkish and Russian costars.
(Thread. You been warned. Somebody throw Scalzi a distraction burrito.)
1 of many...
Established Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: “LDS Church”.
Members of that church: “LDS”.
The shared mythos group including LDS, LDS before 1890, fundamentalist FLDS, & other polygamist groups: “Mormon” or “Mormondom.”
Individual schismatics: their name.
LDS and LDS Chruch try very hard to deny that they share holy texts & mythology, but they’re all related, from the same foundation.
Christianity doesn’t require Trinitarianism, it doesn’t define texts (there are textual conflicts between Protestants, Catholics & Orthodox), or define ritual behaviors.
Get people wet in Jesus’ name? You’re Christian.
(Quakers are negotiable.)
FLDS were small time. Flashy, no substance.
They’re a multigenerational polygamous family who started in the 1930s with a dairy farm, a potato-wheat farm and a small coal mine.
It’s in everything.
Yeah, they’re AN influence.
But they’re a lot of separate influences who move in the same direction.
They’re more or less independent at the individual to congregation level.
They often disagree & switch churches.
They fall in line, more often than not.
No exceptions if you work night shifts & a ward near your job is a better fit. Your individual will shouldn’t matter.
(Exceptions can be granted by going WAY high up, but they’re hard to get.)
This is normal within the established LDS Church.
Mormon Studies exist as a major, it’s far more historical than theological or ministerial. And doesn’t lead to the ministry.
The leadership is all male.
All functions are volunteer in the sense of “you have been volunteered”.
And it means the next job you’re told to do will be worse.
Pay 10% of your income or you don’t get access to the rituals.
You’re wrong, or you start a schism.
This is the established church.
But people don’t stick with ANYTHING if they’re not getting more out of it than they put in. That’s elementary human behavior, and emotional satisfaction is a strong motivator.
Oh, and they’re big on prosperity as a sign of God’s favor. Not exactly Prosperity Gospel, but collectively preserving & growing capital within the community.
History: Even before the mass westward migration in 1846-7, Mormons shared amongst themselves.
Fr’ex: The Word of Wisdom, the doctrine that forbids tea, coffee, tobacco & booze.
Missouri was going bad; 20 Mormon men & boys were massacred 5 mos later.
Skip ahead to the 1850s. Deseret built a distillery & brewery, because weak beer was safer than water, while whiskey had medicinal & surgical uses, plus trade value.
Early on in what’s now Utah, it was necessary. They had to be self-sufficient because there were no railroads yet and they were in the middle of nowhere.
(Some burning loathing, too.)
Which they exploited for tax avoidance.
Because... there’s a thread of anarcho-capitalism that runs through Mormondom. (Loathing part!)
Those who went to what became Salt Lake City in 1847 intended to leave the United States forever.
They did, in fact, leave.
In the 1830s, most states had laws against bigamy on the books, but the federal code did not.
In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act outlawed it in federal territories, including Utah. Which Mormondom took personally, as an attempt at genocide.
There’s a good chance any Corridor town founded between 1862-1880 was Mormon polygamist diaspora.
Then came the 1890 Woodruff Manifesto.
The document that causes almost all Mormondom schisms.
Most members at the time approved the Manifesto. Most members weren’t practicing polygamy anyway!
But the Manifesto also looked like compromise to get Utah statehood, which was desperately needed.
The Manifesto was explicitly NOT prophecy, but policy.
Economically? 1890-1915 were incredibly bad years in the West. Silver panics, locusts, drought.
The intermountain West is HARD to farm.
Water control alone is a century of “oh shit” patches.
Mining was always exploitative & LDS treated non-LDS miners badly. Strikes.
It got him excommunicated in 1929.
At first, his wife Vesta thought he was cheating, but he convinced her & their children.
Their 1st, Elden, was 20, fragile & newly married.
He died in 1948, with 5 wives, and had established the early aspects of the cult: that all material wealth was held in common in the Cooperative Society; that clothes & food & shelter were identical and not worldly and to be shared equally.
But the further amendments? Not so much.
The Will of the People doesn’t apply to taxation & universal suffrage.
Their 2nd prophet was using his cattle breeding techniques on his own family.
What’s better than a crime family? A crime family incest cult.
Religiously? Because nothing in this world is worth keeping.
Behaviorally? Hard to get far without shoes.
No pockets? Can’t hide money for escape.
Nobody in the family got paid, so they couldn’t easily leave anyway. Without labor expenses, the businesses were & are nearly all profit, which they turn back into more wealth.
It’s half religious, but also works as community control: if you don’t take people to the hospital, nobody notices how many babies, or who is sick.
(The Kingstons now use the charter/private school Not For Profit foundation scam. They’re good money laundry adjuncts.)
Cash was used for most transactions - often including real estate.
(The Kingstons also have mining claims, which could plausibly turn up gold.)
They had to start issuing W-2s and using SSNs.
Just because they were technically paying salaries doesn’t mean anyone got money.
They turned their paychecks over to the cooperative or church, got scrip they could spend at family businesses, the money stayed inside.
The point is to under-report the cash income at level 1 so L1 businesses barely break even. What the L1s MUST buy comes from & through level 2 businesses (which puts that money into laundry). L2s also barely break even.
The point is to minimize the tax burden at all levels, and zero out as much profit as possible with accounting.
The risk, though, is that everything’s integrated. If one thing breaks or gets busted? It can bring the whole system down.
Mountain Coin Machine Distribution
Best Distributing Amusement Games
Fountain of Youth Health & Athletic Club
Perpetual Youth Inc
Bail Bond Specialists
Shoppers Pawn Shop
Sportsmans Pawn Shop
Sportsmans Bail Bond Specialists
Sportsmans Fast Cash
AAA Sportsmans Bail Bonds Information Recovery
A+ Sportsman’s Bail Bonds
Lake Elsinore Casino/Card House
East Side Market
Family Stores Tru Value
Shoppers Boot Corral
Standard Restaurant Supply/International Gourmet
Michael’s Shoe Repair & Men’s Stores
The Car Store Sales & Leasing (also mid-level)(A buy here, pay here with high interest rates. Predatory car sales.)
The L1s contract with L2 service providers. On paper? It all looks like business as usual.
Fr’ex: Fictitious records of extra garbage runs look real, but money spent & received in those records is clean.
Club 48 Managment
American Federal Corp
Kingston Produce (Pineapple, Potatoes & Onions) (also an L1 since they sell legit vegetables & L3, as real estate)
Takes funds from L1&L2, invests in transferable property, lends at interest, buys & maintains property as rental income. Wealth storage & final cleaning.
If you rent/sell a house bought with fraudulent funds, you get clean money back.
Kearns Property CO
Fidelity Funding/Fidelity Factoring (not THE Fidelity. This is a pawn shop/payday loan for business clients)
El Cid Financial
Bear Mining Company
COB/COP Coal Development
CW Mining Company
Washakie Renewable Energy
And AT LEAST 60 more businesses, LLCs and dbas that are far more opaque, just under the 1 umbrella. (There are more umbrellas, but not yet public.)
Consulting, Enterprises, anonymous corps and LLCs.
Latter Day Church of Christ
Little Red House Montessori
The Kingstons control at LEAST $300 Million, but 2x? 3x? Easy. Up to $10B.
If they can pull 25-40% off someone else’s money, that’s just more for them.
They lend some of their money through the pawn shops or via the Fidelity short term business loan shop. This is a double laundry, since it can clean their own money & other people’s.
(Recall: money laundering always LOSES money; it’s the opposite of actual good business.)
(Recall: money laundering always LOSES money; it’s the opposite of actual good business.)
So they sometimes get stuck with $5M in gold sitting in a closet, which someone steals and someone else kills to get back... little problems like that. Yep, happened.
Big Love (HBO) used some known aspects of the Kingstons as their model. Though they had to tone it down, because fiction requires plausibility.
If you have to be kicked out of your cult...
No consent is possible because these children are raised without the idea that another way of life is possible.
The best possible end is the one playing out now, where the Feds confiscate the wealth, leaving no reason to stay.
But former employees who would talk to the media (and the Feds) provided documents and context. And backups...
We’ve got a couple cult members who think Bleeding the Beast (aka tax fraud & evasion) is a religious duty.
But there were tax credits!
The Kingstons bought biodiesel from others, claimed it as their own, filed for the credits.
They’d loop those same gallons through shells 5-6 times, claiming the credit every time. It’s an amazing scam.
The Kingstons claim total innocence. It’s a conspiracy.
Mom & a wife are up on forgery charges, too.
One claims to have cancer but no actual diagnosis because he don’t go to doctors. Thus we should let him out.
And he’ll run quick like a bunny to Turkey, where he stashed $950M.
The Kingstons launder via loans. Some of the tax credit scam money got loaned to a Russian/SoCal real estate investor & fuel company guy named Lev Aslan Dermen (AKA Levon Termendzhyan. I’ll call him Lev.)
The energy sector is a small town, but a small town that includes a tightly integrated vertical money laundering operation run by polygamists?
(Note: Rocky Mountain News was excellent journalism. This is a reprint of their work.)
Maxing in a single donation almost always means there’s more money going to SuperPACs, bundles & dark funds.
Getting away with this for decades requires getting the regulators to look away. Campaign cash is an easy distraction.
The person he smuggled gave evidence against the ICE agent, who in turn gave evidence on the guy bribing him to smuggle people.
Somehow I doubt this was the first time the ICE agent bent rules. Because...
See how SBK/Noil Energy (both are Lev) sponsored this lovely event for Hispanic Cops.
This is the politest possible form of bribery.
And then where?
Iran is a good possibility.
But from Dubai? In 2012-2015? It could be anyone in the region, including Russia and Ukraine.
(The Wasatch Range aren’t really gold/silver mountains, but there’s some.)
And they have pawnshops. And retail gold storefronts.
Less jewelry (immodest for women; Mormon men don’t wear much more than a wedding ring and a tie clip) and coins (government) than ingots.
The Kingstons have sufficient cash to buy from other pawn brokers.
Because the retail end of any money laundry requires B2B cash exchanges.
If everyone in the industry knows that there’s the one guy in SLC who will always buy gold (though at a discount), that knowledge will get used, and when Santa Fe has an excess of second thought engagement rings, SLC will buy.
Kingstons have just enough metals mining production - at least on paper - to justify a small smelter. They can crank out ingots as long as they can recycle.
Sell the junk stones on eBay.
Put the good stuff in a bag, in a big Suburban full of kids.
Take the kids to the beach, hand off the bag.
It’s on a private jet leaving Orange County.
Ostentatious white Americanness.
Their daughters are usually petite blondes who don’t look out of place buying Las Vegas Prada Hermès or Leboutin. Even for cash.
Shopping is ALSO laundry.
It’s why nobody questioned that a single biodiesel site was outperforming everyone else in the country.
They’ve lost most of their Congressional protection: Love is gone, Chaffetz is gone, Hatch is gone.
Mitt doesn’t need them - he’s got his own scams.
There’s gonna be a lot of civil asset forfeiture & restitutions.
Never heard of it.
Weren’t they on a reality show?
That will break the Kingstons, too.
And my stuff is far more plausible, even with magic.
Please read my books!