Officials say couple scammed Yakutat widow out of $700K, then skipped town
$1.4M judgment against couple is Office of Elder Fraud’s largest in state’s history
YAKUTAT, Alaska (KTUU) - This week, Alaska’s Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance announced that on Nov. 13, it won the largest settlement in the state’s history.
The case involved a now-deceased woman named Neva Ogle, who was in her 80s 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.
Investigators with Alaska’s Office of Public Advocacy found that in January of 2012 Ogle loaned the Sigler’s $250,000 with the intention that it would be paid back. Then, a year later, 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,” said Deputy Director for the Elderly Fraud Division at OPA Beth Goldstein.
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 said.
Ogle later developed dementia and eventually had to sell her home to move into an assisted-living facility in Sitka, according to investigators, while the Sigler’s used her money to buy a large home in Meridian, Texas, located in Bosque County.
“She didn’t have enough left for one full year in care,” said Goldstein.
“The Sigler’s 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,” Goldstein said, “used the money to move to Texas, bought a new truck and then bought gifts for family and things for themselves.”
In 2014, the Yakutat police investigated and 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 said.
Alaska’s Office of Elder Fraud & Assistance sued the Siglers and the case dragged on for years before a judgment was awarded. Now, OPA investigators have a warning for anyone who takes advantage of people of advanced age.
“Alaska takes exploiting its elders seriously, and it doesn’t matter if you’re here or if you leave,” Goldstein said. “If we can prove a case against you, we will come after you.”
Ogle passed away in November 2020. Goldstein says since Neva is dead and there may be a statute of limitations issue, it is likely that the Siglers won’t face any criminal charges in this case.
The Siglers now live in Meridian, a small town located in Bosque County, Texas. Carla Sigler has recently been re-elected as the treasurer of Bosque County. She is, essentially, the one who oversees that county’s money.
If you suspect elder abuse or fraud, contact the Office of Elder Fraud & Assistance at (907) 334-5954 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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