You Can’t Make This Shit Up: A $511M Fuel Tax Credit Fraud Indictment in Utah Connects a Polygamous Mormon Cult to Mike Flynn, TrumpRussia, and Transnational Organized Crime

K. Louise Neufeld
Aug 26, 2018 · 10 min read

The Kingston Group in Utah is in bed with the Russian/Armenian mob. They do business together in Turkey and connect to the Special Counsel’s investigation into the 2016 election and other investigations.

Note: This piece was written with the help of crowdsourced research by these Tweeters: @stephaniefishm4 @brazencapital @peaceful_411 @agenthades1 and @thomass4217.

On August 24, 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced a federal indictment had been unsealed. Three men were charged with a $511,000,000 tax credit fraud scheme involving biofuels. Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston, and Lev Aslan Dermen (aka Levon Termendzhyan) were charged in the District of Utah. The indictment was filed August 1, 2018, and ordered sealed.

“[The men]allegedly schemed to file false claims for renewable fuel tax credits, which caused the IRS to issue over $511 million to WRE…From 2010 through 2016, as part of their fraud to obtain the fuel tax credits, the defendants allegedly created false production records and other paperwork routinely created in qualifying renewable fuel transactions along with other false documents. To make it falsely appear that qualifying fuel transactions were occurring, the defendants rotated products through places in the United States and through at least one foreign country.”

Note: the indictment mentions Panama. In addition to the tax credit scam, the

“indictment further charges that the defendants laundered part of the scheme proceeds through a series of financial transactions related to the purchase of a $3 million personal residence for Jacob Kingston. Jacob and Isaiah Kingston are separately alleged to have laundered approximately $1.72 million in scheme proceeds to purchase a 2010 Bugatti Veyron. Jacob Kingston and Lev Aslan Dermen are separately charged with money laundering related to an $11.2 million loan funded by scheme proceeds.”

source: PACER.gov

Jacob Kingston is the CEO of Washakie Renewable Energy, and Isaiah Kingston is the CFO. The Kingstons are sons of John Daniel Kingston, the partiarch of the Kingston Group, “a Utah-based polygamous church with fundamentalist Mormon beliefs.” Journalist Jesse Hyde wrote about the group in his brilliant article Inside ‘The Order,’ One Mormon Cult’s Secret Empire,” published June 15, 2011, in Rolling Stone. The Southern Poverty Law Center declared the Kingston Group a hate group in their August 8, 2017 expose, Blood Cult.” The Salt Lake Tribune’s Nate Carlisle reported August 4, 2018, “Girls in polygamous Kingston Group continue to marry as young as 15, records show, sometimes leaving Utah to marry cousins.” All three articles are essential reading to get a sense of who the Kingston group really is-and the scope of their crimes and abuses.

According to the federal indictment dated August 1, 2018 (available on PACER), Lev Aslan Dermen aka Levon Termendzhyan, is a California resident who controls

“several fuel-related companies in the United States, including Noil Energy Group, a corporation with offices in California. SBK Holdings, Inc., later SBK Holdings USA, Inc., was a corporation formed in California in December 2013 initially owned by Defendants Jacob Ortell Kingston and Lev Aslan Dermen, a/k/a Levon Termendzhyan.”

On September 29, 2017, Isaac Arnsdorf of ProPublica published a brilliant piece of journalism, “Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who Hired Michael Flynn as a Lobbyist,” about Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who is a “close ally of Ekim Alptekin, the 40-year-old Turkish businessman who hired Flynn to lobby for Turkish interests shortly before the election.” In the article, Arnsdorf writes Termendzhyn’s SBK Holdings USA is “the U.S. sister company” of Sezgin Baran Korkmaz’s Turkish company, SBK Holding. SBK Holding

“has “major investments” in the Russian energy sector, a September 2016 announcementby a Turkish government agency said. The company’s website shows operations in Russia but doesn’t specify what they are.”

On October 5, 2017, The Real Deal reported former SBK Holdings USA’s President and Legal Counsel, Edgar Sargosyan had stated in a legal declaration that Termendzhyan was “under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for money laundering, tax evasion and stolen petroleum.” I found several other companies connected to Termendzhyan (see charts below), and he and his family members appear in the Offshore Leaks Database.

Things Get Crazier, Because We are Witnessing the Unravelling of Decades of Transnational Organized Crime

Edgar Sargsyan, who is the ex-President and ex-Legal Counsel for SBK Holdings USA, stated in his declaration filed in court on July 14, 2017:

“On information and belief, I have learned from conversations with law enforcement that Levon Termendzhyan is the head of a criminal organization, and is the person referred to as “co-conspirator 1” in FBI Special Agent Brian Adkins’ affidavit. Attached herto as Exhibit G is a true and correct copy of this affidavit filed in the case United States of America v. Felix Cisneros, Case №17MJ00620.”

Felix Cisneros is a former ICE agent who was convicted on April 24, 2018, of criminal charges related to helping a Mexican national enter the United States. Cisneros was arrested on March 23, 2017 and in the affidavit of Brian Adkins (see Exhibit G), footnote 2 states,

“‘Co-Conspirator 1’” refers to an unindicted co-conspirator who, as described more fully below, directed Cisneros to aid and assist the CHS (Confidential Human Source) in illicitly entering the United States on September 7, 2013, despite being inadmissible at the time under 8 USC 1182.”

Adkins’ affidavit further states,

“During the CHS (Confidential Human Source) Interviews, the CHS informed me that the CHS was working in the oil and gas industry in 2013, and that, at the time, Co-Conspirator 1 was negotiating an oil and gas deal in Mexico involving several individuals and companies. The CHS was assisting Co-Conspirator 1 in negotiating that deal, which included travel to Mexico to engage in negotiations…I have spoken with the FBI Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI’s Transnational Organized Crime-Eastern Hemisphere squad, who informed me that, based on his squad’s investigations, the FBI believes that Co-Conspirator 1 holds a leadership role with a criminal organization located in Southern California, and has held this role since at least 2013.”

If Edward Sargsyan’s declaration is correct and Levon Termendzhyan is indeed Co-Conspirator 1 in Special Agent Brian Adkins’ affidavit, then Termenzhyan is potentially in trouble for bribery and obstruction of justice. And so are a “local politician” and a “state prosecution agency.” Remember- I’m not a lawyer-but I can read, and the Summary of Probable Cause, particularly Paragraph 6C, is a shocker:

source: Complaint filed 3/21/17, available on PACER.gov

A (Brief) Timeline of Treason: How this connects to Trump-Russia and Mueller’s investigation

Note the jacket on the left in the photo (hat tip @jbadomics on Twitter for pointing it out). Now does #AbolishICE as a provocation tactic make sense in the grand scheme of things?
  1. February 10, 2016: Several of the Kingston’s properties were raided by the FBI on February 10, 2016, and on February 13, 2016, a former employee explained aspects of the Kingstons’ fuel tax scam to KUTV in Utah.
  2. August 2016: Alptekin’s Dutch consulting company Inovo BV hired Mike Flynn’s Flynn Intel Group to do opposition research on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, and who Turkish President Erdogan blames for a “coup attempt” in July 2016.
  3. August 18, 2016: Ex-CIA Director James Woolsey’s wife, Nancy Miller emailed Woolsey a proposal which Woolsey printed out and showed to Korkmaz, who forwarded it to Alptekin.
  4. Sometime in August 2016, but likely after the proposal was emailed: Woolsey proposed a $10,000,000 project to Korkmaz at a meeting in California. The project was “ a lobbying and public relations campaign targeting Fethullah Gulen.”
  5. September 9, 2016: The government of Turkey issued a press release: “$950M Cash Flow Slated to Arrive in Total Future Investments: Noil Energy Group Inc., US-Based Washakie Renewable Energy and SBK Holding LLC are Set to Start a $450M Equity Fund.” The press release states that Noil Energy Group’s “collaboration with SBK Holding Inc. was kick-started in 2013…Total investments made since 2013 in collaboration with and under the management of SBK Holding Inc. have reached $500 million…NEG has established a new $450 million equity fund for the new investments it is poised to flow into Turkey until the end of 2016. On top of this equity fund, NEG has established a $500 million recovery fund to leverage M&A operations in Turkey due to get well underway in 2 years.” [emphasis mine]
  6. September 19, 2016: Michael Flynn met with two Turkish Ministers regarding a proposal to kidnap Fetullah Gulen and send him to Turkey. The meeting was arranged by Alptekin.
  7. September 20, 2016: Woolsey & his wife had lunch in New York City with Alptekin & Korkmaz regarding their Gulen proposal.
  8. October 2016: The “American-Turkish Council, a group devoted to building up business connections between the two countries (and the conference’s other organizer), booked the Trump hotel in downtown DC, a short walk from the White Housefor a May 2017 conference.
  9. November 8, 2016: Election day. Flynn publishes an Op-Ed in The Hill about Gulen.
  10. February 13, 2017: Flynn resigns/is forced out as National Security Advisor.
  11. March 23, 2017: Former ICE Agent Felix Cisneros was arrested for helping a Mexican National enter the United States illegally. The Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Brian Adkins (see Exhibit G) states Cisneros was directed by “Co-Conspirator 1” to assist the Mexican National in entering the country.
  12. May 16–17, 2017: Erdogan visits Trump. Erdogan’s bodyguards beat up protestors on American soil.
  13. May 21–23, 2017: 36th Annual Conference on US-Turkey Relations at Trump hotel in Washington DC. Korkmaz and Alptekin both gave keynote speeches. Newt Gingrich spoke at a luncheon.
  14. May 2017: Alptekin was interviewed by Mueller’s team. After the interview, Mueller’s team sent Alptekin a subpoena, and told his lawyers they believed he was lying about the source of the money he paid to Flynn. As of October 6, 2017, he had still refused to comply with the subpoena. (Added to the timeline 12:30 PM EDT Sunday August 26, 2018; thank you Tweeter @RubyWorms for reminding me of the Alptekin subpoena after I initially published this story!)
  15. July 14, 2017: Edward Sargsyan files declaration stating Termendzhyan is “Co-Conspirator 1,” in FBI Special Agent Adkin’s Affidavit in the Felix Cisneros case, which says Co-Conspirator 1 is believed by FBI to be a leader of a criminal organization.
  16. September 22, 2017: per Arnsdorf’s reporting, this is the date that Sezgin Baran Korkmaz was to testify to a federal grand jury, per a subpoena ordering the testimony. The subpoena was sent with a letter “signed by Robert Mueller and Zainab Ahmad, a senior assistant special counsel who specializes in prosecuting terrorism.” The letter stated, “The grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act [FARA], among other offenses.”
  17. December 1, 2017: Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Sergey Lavrov. Additionally, per Politco’s Josh Gerstein, Matthew Nussbaum and Theodoric Meyer, “Flynn admitted to making “materially false statements and omissions” in his retroactive registration, including lying about the fact that the Turkish government officials were supervising and directing the work. He also misrepresented his lobbying work by stating that it was “focused on improving U.S. business organizations’ confidence regarding doing business in Turkey,” and lied about an op-ed he published in The Hill on Election Day in which he compared Gulen to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Flynn stated in the registration in March that he’d written the op-ed voluntarily and not on behalf of Turkey or anyone else.” [emphasis mine]
  18. April 24, 2018: Former ICE Agent Felix Cisneros convicted for illegally helping a Mexican National enter the United States.
  19. August 1, 2018: Indictment of Jacob Kingston, Isiaih Kingston, and Levon Termendzhyan for $511,000,000 tax credit fraud scheme and money laundering, is filed in federal court, and sealed.
  20. August 24, 2018: Indictment of the Kingston brothers and Termendzhyn is announced by the Department of Justice. The connections of this polygamous cult to the Mueller investigation, associates of Mike Flynn, and Transnational Organized Crime, are not mentioned in the DoJ’s press release, or in any of the mainstream media articles about the indictment.

Additional Rabbit Holes

As with all people and companies connected to the Trump-Russia-Transnational Organized Crime nexus of corruption, there are other rabbit holes that I haven’t had time to dig into. I’ll list some of them here.

  1. The current CEO of Termendzhyan’s Viscon International, Inc., and former COO of Noil Energy Group from 2007–2014, is Daniel McDyre. He’s Richard Nixon’s former Presidential pilot.
  2. Levon Termendzhyan has a joint venture with a Native American tribe in Yakima, Washington via First American Petroleum. Given recent “rent-a-tribe” payday lending scandals, and Termendzhyn’s apparent connections to organized crime, this is worth investigating further.
  3. Levon Termendzhyan was arrested in 1993 for a gas tax scam. In the article, his name is spelled Termendjian. His brother Grigor was also arrested. The Russian mafia and the Italian Mafia were actively involved in gas tax scams in the 1980s-1990s.
  4. According to Levon Termendzhyan’s blog, he owns a Fixed Base Operation (FBO). “FBOs provide various services to private jet pilots at established airports. Most of these entities are run by commercial companies and typically offer self-pump or full-service fueling options.” Private jets + organized crime makes me wonder if Termendzhyn has any connection to Jetsmarter.
  5. There are a lot of names and companies listed on a civil suit brought by SBK Holdings USA, Inc. The Termendzhyans have several trademarks. These all need to be explored.

There’s much more to dig into, but that’s enough for now.

K. Louise Neufeld

Written by

ex-finance lady. research nerd. citizen journalist. @ninaandtito citjourno.org

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade