LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Diggles family has issued a statement following a guilty verdict handed down by a federal jury last week.
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. Anita Diggles was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
"We are overwhelmed by the tremendous number of phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, and love from so many of our family, friends, public, and fellow laborers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord! Thank you for being there with us and for us during these difficult times. We have wonderful memories of our ministry to those in need because we try to emulate Christ example of giving bread to the hungry and healing to those hurting. We will continue to show love and forgiveness from our hearts to all people and accept the will of God for where ever He directs our paths in the future. Please keep us in your prayers as we will keep you in our as well."
The family issued the email statement on Friday. Walter Diggles attorney, Ryan Gertz, confirmed the validity of the email.
Diggles along with his wife and daughter were indicted by a federal grand jury following a raid of his home, church, and office in February of 2014.
The indictment explains how Walter Diggles was the pastor of New Lighthouse Church of God in Christ in Jasper, as well as the registered agent of the Deep East Texas Foundation. The offices of the foundation were located in the church. The indictment alleges it was his position and authority in these entities which allowed the conspiracy to succeed.
The foundation received funding almost entirely from DETCOG through federal Social Services Block Grant funding and received $4.4 million in funds from 2007-2012, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, "Walter Diggles was not only the executive director of DETCOG, but had extensive involvement in the affairs of the Foundation. In fact, Walter Diggles had direct input into the agenda of the foundation; sometimes participated in foundation meetings, and would sometimes refer persons to the Foundation for services. Additionally, he had the authority to decide who would receive money from or services paid for by the Foundation and who did not."
The indictment explains how Lighthouse Church had fewer than 40 active members and the majority of funds received by the church during that five-year period were SSBG funds that flowed from the federal treasury, to DETCOG, to the Foundation, then to Lighthouse Church.
The current DETCOG director, Lonnie Hunt, also released a statement:
"I don't have anything to say about the trial. DETCOG is moving forward. Many positive things have happened in the last year. More positive things are coming. We have too much important work to do to allow ourselves to be distracted by events that are outside our control."