Bosque County treasurer to resume duties while shrouded in controversy over alleged scam of elderly victim

Bosque County Courthouse in Meridian, Texas.
Bosque County Courthouse in Meridian, Texas.(PHOTO: Joe Villasana for KWTX)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:40 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Texas (KWTX) - The embattled former Bosque County treasurer who was removed from office in August is set to resume her duties as treasurer next month after voters returned her to office in November.

As Carla Sigler prepares to take back her position as Bosque County treasurer, she remains shrouded in controversy after she and her husband were found to have improperly taken a total of $700,000 in reported loans from an 89-year-old woman in Alaska in 2012 and 2013 before Sigler and her husband, Vernon, moved to Meridian in Central Texas.

Alaska’s Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance said the civil judgment against the Siglers, which has now swelled to more than $1.4 million with interest and punitive damages, represents the largest settlement in Alaska’s history.

Sigler did not return phone or email messages from KWTX on Friday. She was elected county treasurer in 2016, but was removed from office after a Bosque County jury in August found that she failed to complete mandatory continuing education hours and acted “recklessly” in failing to do so.

After Sigler was forced out of office based on the jury’s verdict, Pam Browning, a former employee in the Bosque County judge’s office, was appointed county treasurer. However, her appointment came well after the filing deadline to run for office, leaving Sigler as the lone candidate on the ballot for county treasurer.

Browning waged a vigorous write-in campaign against Sigler in the November general election, but won only 35 percent of the vote despite news coverage in the Clifton Record and Meridian Tribune about the controversy swirling around Sigler and her husband in Alaska.

The Clifton Record reported that Alaska Superior Court Judge Daniel Schally signed an order last week awarding the State of Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance $450,000 in punitive damages, which was added to the principal amount of $688,500. The judge also awarded the agency $334,738 in prejudgment interest and attorneys’ fees for a total judgment of $1,473,238.

“The State of Alaska takes the exploitation of its elderly population seriously,” Deputy Director for Alaska Office of Public Advocacy Beth Goldstein said, as quoted in the Clifton Record. “This judgment sends a powerful message; if you defraud one of our elders, the Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance will come after you, even if you are outside of Alaska.”

Sigler’s comeback after her inglorious removal from office obviously has created some unusual and uncomfortable dynamics around the Bosque County Courthouse.

Bosque County Judge Cindy Vanlandingham declined comment Friday when asked about Sigler’s return to office, while Browning, Sigler’s replacement, was hesitant to address the situation.

“I will say that I am here in the office every day doing my job as the appointed treasurer and trying to do the best job that I can for the county,” Browning said, declining additional comment.

The case involved a now deceased woman named Neva Ogle, who was in her mid-eighties at the...
The case involved a now deceased woman named Neva Ogle, who was in her mid-eighties at the time. Superior Court Judge Daniel Shally determined that former Yakutat residents, Carla and James Vernon Sigler, took $700,000 in funds from Ogle over a period of two years, beginning in 2012.

KTUU, KWTX’s sister station in Alaska, reported this week that investigators with Alaska’s Office of Public Advocacy found the elderly woman, Neva Ogle, loaned the Sigler’s $250,000 in 2012 with the intention that it would be paid back. The following year, another check was written for $450,000, but investigators say Ogle didn’t issue it.

“While it was signed by Neva, it was not written by Neva. It was written by Carla Sigler,” Goldstein told KTUU.

Investigators say Ogle worked hard her whole life to save up enough money to ensure she would be able to stay in her own home once she retired.

“Her dream was to stay in Yakutat, she had been there the whole time,” OPA Investigator Mike Carbone told KTUU.

Ogle later developed dementia and eventually had to sell her home. She moved to an assisted-living facility in Sitka, according to investigators, while the Sigler’s used her money to buy a large home in Meridian.

“She didn’t have enough left for one full year in care,” KTUU quoted Goldstein as saying of Ogle.

“The Siglers bought back Carla’s retirement, 10 years of that, and then they purchased, for cash, a five-bedroom beautiful home with a pool in Texas, used the money to move to Texas, bought a new truck and then bought gifts for family and things for themselves,” Goldstein told KTUU.

In 2014, according to KTUU’s report, the Yakutat police recorded an interview with Olga, asking whether her money was loaned to the Siglers or meant as a gift.

“She was going to pay me back monthly, but we didn’t make up any paperwork or nothing, ‘cause that’s my fault,” Ogle told police. “See, I wasn’t stupid once, I was stupid twice.”

“Out of $700,000, they paid less than $15,000 back,” Carbone told KTUU.

A petition to remove Sigler from office was filed and the case was tried in August before a Bosque County jury and a visiting judge.

Sigler testified at trial she was a strong proponent of education and said she often went “above and beyond” what was required of her for training as county treasurer, the Clifton Record reported.

Sigler, who also served as Bosque County’s chief investment officer, was required to take additional training that was counted separately from a county treasurers’ regular training hours.

Sigler testified she took that role seriously and took courses every year even though they were required every two years, according to Clifton Record accounts.

Sigler testified those hours also were counted toward her county treasurer’s requirements in 2017 and 2018 and she thought she didn’t need to count those additional hours in 2019 or 2020.

However, when she tried to get credit for those hours in 2021, Sigler said she was denied.

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