LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After the Deep East Texas Council of Government's legal counsel met with the organization's board of director Tuesday, DETCOG officials decided that Walter Diggles, the executive director should be suspended without pay or benefits.
Previously, Diggles had been suspended with pay and benefits.
It was announced in federal court on Dec. 19, 2015, that a DETCOG official and his wife and daughter are charged with 28 counts involving wire fraud and theft.
"Termination was an option," Suiter said. "The Bylaws state that an executive director has to be approved by the entire board and removed by the entire board. I assume they could accept what we have done or move to termination."
Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter said . He said the matter will be on the agenda for the Jan. 28 meeting, which will be held in San Augustine. Suiter said DETCOG's regular board will decide whether Diggles will be terminated, remain suspended without pay or benefits, or remain suspended with pay and benefits.
Diggles, 62, Rosie Diggles, 61, and Anita Diggles, 39, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud from Nov. 2006 to Nov. 2012 as part of a scheme to obtain money involved with disaster relief, according to court testimony in Beaumont. Walter Diggles is also charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funding and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions and property derived from unlawful transactions. Rosie Diggles is also charged with nine counts of wire fraud, one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funding and one count of engaging in monetary transactions and property derived from unlawful transactions.
According to a US Attorney's Office press release, the trio devised a scheme to make personal use of federal block grant funds that Congress appropriated following Hurricanes Rita, Katrina, Ike and Dolly. The funds were made available to the state, which in turn contracted with several councils of government to assist with distributing the funds.
The indictment alleges Walter Diggles approved inflated requests for reimbursement and Rosie and Anita Diggles prepared many of the requests. It alleges Walter Diggles approved requests for fraudulent block grant funds and all three spent the excess funds on personal expenses.