FORT WORTH, TX (KTRE) - Rosie and Anita Diggles surrendered themselves to authorities on Tuesday and have started their 4.5-year federal prison sentences for financial crimes including wire fraud, theft concerning programs receiving federal grants, and money laundering.
Walter Diggles remains free as a result of a 30-day extension that was filed by his appellate attorney.
"It was a pretty routine 30-day extension," said Seth Kretzer, Walter Diggles' appellate attorney.
Kretzer said Walter Diggles asked for the extension because he has some upcoming medical appointments.
Diggles will be required to turn himself in on August 13. Kretzer said that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has not told them where Diggles will be required to surrender to authorities or where he will be serving his 9-year federal prison sentence.
Rosie Diggles, 64, and Anita Diggles, 42, are currently being held at the Carswell Unit in Fort Worth, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. The release date for both women was listed as June 10, 2022.
U.S. District Judge Ron Clark issued the sentences for the Diggles at a hearing at the Ward R. Burk United States Federal Courthouse in Lufkin back in May. After Walter, Rosie, and Anita Diggles serve their federal prison sentences, they will each have three years of supervised release.
Anita and Rosie Diggles were each sentenced four-and-a-half years in a federal prison. All three of the family members were ordered to report to the federal detention facility on July 10. They will each have three years of supervision upon release.
The punishment phase started Tuesday morning at the Ward R. Burke United States federal courthouse in Lufkin.
"We respect the position of the court and our family will be appealing this decision with the 5th Circuit Court and we expect that appeal to happen immediately," Walter Diggles said after the sentencing was handed down. Walter Diggles was found guilty of 16 different charges.
Walter, Anita, and Rosie Diggles will be responsible for paying restitution in the amount of $1.3 million. Walter Diggles will be responsible for paying the largest part of that total.
"The defendants stole from the taxpayers, and these kinds of frauds take money away from real people - disaster victims," Joseph Brown, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas said in a press release." This was an appropriate sentence, and hopefully, it will help deter some of this type of behavior the next time."
"Offenders who abuse the public trust inherently are more culpable," Tamera Cantu, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office said in a press release. "The defendants made a conscious decision to deceive and benefit personally at the expense of the citizens of the State of Texas. Today's sentences underscore our commitment to work in a collaborative effort to promote honest and ethical government at all levels and to prosecute those who violate the public's trust."
Ryan Gertz, Walter Diggles' defense attorney, argued that it will be hard to compensate that money. He pointed out that it is going to be "very, very hard" for the government to recoup the required restitution money because Walter Diggles will be in his mid-70s when he is released from prison and "will not likely be employable."
Back in August of 2017, Walter Diggles was convicted on 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and three counts of money laundering. Rosie Diggles, his wife, was found guilty on 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Anita Diggles was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
During the hearing, Clark said he received numerous letters attesting to the family members' character.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Texas State Auditor's Office, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Gibson and James Noble.