Federal jury finds all three Diggles family members guilty of all charges

Federal jury finds all three Diggles family members guilty of all charges

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A federal jury found Walter, Rosie, and Anita Diggles guilty of all the charges against them Thursday evening.

According to Steve Stewart, with KJAS in Jasper, all three Diggles were found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Walter Diggles was found guilty of eleven counts of wire fraud, two counts of stealing federal funds, and three counts of money laundering. His wife, Rosie, was found guilty of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Sentencing will be held in four to six months. Walter and Rosie Diggles could be facing up to 30 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines.

Rosie Diggles' defense attorney, Bobby Mems, is still hopeful for this family.

"Obviously we're disappointed," said Mems. "It's not over. There's all sorts of appellate routes. We did make a good record. I don't know what would happen on appeal, but we believe we have some good appellate points."

The 12 jurors reached a decision in the case at about 6 P.M. Thursday.

The eighth day of the Diggles family trial started Thursday  morning, with Judge Ron Clark reading out the charges for Walter, Rosie, and Anita Diggles.

Both the prosecution and the defense were then given time to make their final arguments to the jurors.

The US government's attorney started out by explaining many of the words that had been used throughout the trial, like conspiracy and what that word entails.

"A conspiracy isn't like how you see them on TV, where they hatch a plot together," said Tom Gibson, government attorney. "There is no written agreement....look at their actions, their decisions, and their choices..."

The alleged "schemes" acted out by the Diggles family were then revisited, including the amount of money spent on the 21st Century Learning Center's summer and after school program, transportation for these programs, and conferences.

Another major piece of evidence that the prosecution revisited was the chart that depicts the amount of money given to the Deep East Texas Foundation next to all the other organizations that the Deep East Texas Council of Governments awarded money. Despite the defense's argument that DETCOG used the same "fixed rates" with all these other "vendors", the chart depicts a much larger amount of money given to the foundation in comparison with the others.

The defense for Anita Diggles focused on the moral side of what their client had done, in quitting her bank job and devoting her time to managing the 21st Century Learning Center. The attorney stated that Anita requested money so she could continue to help the at-risk youth.

Rosie Diggles' attorney started out his argument by pointing out the amount of time it took the US government to react to Hurricane Katrina, and subsequent hurricanes, with money. He states that Rosie Diggles and her family had been working on behalf of the government, by providing services to refugees. And, now, they deserved to be compensated.

Her attorney also pressed on the jury the responsibly they had, and that none of them should have any doubt as to their decision.

Finally, Ryan Gertz, Walter Diggles' defense attorney, spoke on the intent aspect of the definition of a conspiracy. According to Gertz, the Diggles family did not set out to intentionally steal money from the government. He pointed out that no witnesses were brought forward to testify that any of the Diggles had ever mentioned their intention to commit fraud. Gertz also noted that wire taps were't used.

"If Diggles is an embezzler and money launderer, he's the worst one in the world," said Gertz.

The 12 jurors were sent in to deliberate on the final arguments, as well as everything that has been presented to them, thus far.

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