Fallout From Decade-Long, $1 Billion Biofuel Scam Could Decimate Polygamist Sect

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CIA Director R. James Woolsey, whose name came up repeatedly last week in a Utah federal courtroom during a series of sentencing hearings connected to a byzantine $511 million scheme run by members of a polygamist Mormon group tied to the Armenian underworld, may have found himself in handcuffs on money laundering charges if “he wasn’t suffering from dementia,” sources tell LA Mag.

Using the codename “Grandpa,” Woolsey was connected to the fundamentalist Utah-based Mormon sect via polygamist engineer Jacob Kingston, who was sentenced last week to 18 years in federal prison for his role in orchestrating the scheme.

Kingston, 38, testified that he laundered roughly $140 million stolen from the U.S. Treasury in Turkey with the help of a reputed CIA asset — Turkish biopharma billionaire Sezgin Baran Korkmaz. Kingston met Korkmaz via his former partner in the scam, L.A. gas station titan Levon Termendzhyan, aka Lev Dermen, a man prosecutors call the boss of the Armenian Mafia and who is better known in underworld circles by his nickname: the Lion.

The Mormon and the mobster, prosecutors say, used Korkmaz to help them purchase the Mardan Palace luxury hotel in Turkey, the airliner Borajet, a waterfront villa in Istanbul, and a superyacht christened the Queen Anne. The overseas spending spree was all paid for by unearned subsidies paid out in a complex international scheme run out of Kingston’s Washakie Renewable Energy, located on a north Utah cattle ranch owned by the Order. The sect, which has been called a racist “blood cult” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, used it to apply for lucrative green energy tax credits.

But Kingston believed other monies he was sending to Korkmaz in Turkey “was being used to fund CIA operations with Kurdish groups,” his lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, told U.S. District Court Justice Jill Parrish last week during his client’s sentencing hearing.

“There is so much complexity,” Agnifilo told the judge about Kingston’s international and domestic ties to Woolsey. The attorney also detailed how Jacob believed he was paying for an “umbrella” of protection from a cabal of crooked cops and dirty federal agents, three of whom have now been convicted of selling their badges and top-secret security clearance to Armenian underworld figures.

“The crime is so massive, just so epic…hundreds of millions are going to Turkey,” Agnifilo said, adding: “Jacob believed that some of it, not all, was sanctioned by the U.S. government and the CIA, money is going to business entities in Turkey to fund the CIA. There is so much backstory.”

And that back story directly involves Woolsey, the CIA, Agency assets, and transnational crime figures, something the judge called “a million different rabbit trails,” involving, she added, “all kinds of unsavory characters.”

Kingston testified that in 2018, as the feds were closing in on the scam he was running alongside one of his three wives, Sally, his brother Isaiah Kingston, and their mother Rachel Kingston, he wired Korkmaz $6 million to pay for what he believed was Woolsey’s connections after receiving a series of texts promising that he would be protected from prosecution by a friendly judge.

“The judge is a good guy. He will not disappoint the grandpa,” Korkmaz wrote on June 12, 2018. Two days later, Korkmaz began pestering him for money. “the grandfather called now. It has to be done in 5 days. last chance.” Another read: “grandpa big problem $,” along with a siren emoji.

“Jacob was desperate,” Agnifilo explained to the judge. “He sold his Lamborghini, a Ferrari, his wife’s jewelry,” in order “to pay Baran Korkmaz,” and get Grandpa’s help. The cars, and the jewelry, were paid for by stolen taxpayer dollars, prosecutors said.

And Jacob Kingston believed it when Korkmaz said the CIA was protecting him. He had been bragging that he had connections “all the way to the top,” who could “walk right up to somebody and prick them with a poison ring and it would kill them,” as Isaiah would testify.

Kingston and Dermen were frequent guests of Korkmaz in Turkey, traveling there at least nine times where they took meetings with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and, prosecutors said, set themselves up for a planned luxurious life on the run. During those trips Korkmaz introduced them to a longtime CIA official who had been stationed in Turkey, Graham Fuller.

Content retrieved from: https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/exclusive-fallout-1-billion-biofuel-scam-could-decimate-polygamist-sect/.

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