Judgment in Alaska elder abuse case not likely to keep accused from taking political office in Texas

Carla Sigler moved to Texas and was elected treasurer of Bosque County
Carla Sigler ran for and won the job of treasurer in Bosque County, Texas. She ran for re-election in November and won.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:55 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:28 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Alaska Superior Court judge entered a nearly $1.5 million judgment against James Vernon Sigler and Carla Sigler last month, the largest verdict ever in an Alaska elder abuse case.

It followed an investigation by the Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance, which found the couple defrauded Yakutat widow Neva Ogle of more than $688,000 — most of the woman’s life savings. The Siglers claimed Ogle gifted them the money, but the judge found it was a loan and the Siglers had paid back less than $15,000 before stopping payments.

The Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance found the fraud began back in 2012.

Ogle had told friends she wanted only to be able to stay in her home in her final years, but after her money was taken, she had to move to an assisted living facility in Sitka until her death in 2020. The Siglers moved to Meridian, Texas.

Michael Carbone was the chief investigator in the case.

“They took almost 70% of her money and just left within a few months. ‘Okay, I got it, stopped making my paltry you know, $1,000 payments back,’ moved to Texas, cut off contact. ‘We’re done,’” Carbone said.

According to the investigation and the court decision, the Siglers bought a house in Meridian with the money, a truck for themselves, paid off credit card debt and bought gifts for relatives.

Meanwhile, Carla Sigler ran for and won the job of treasurer in Bosque County, Texas. She was removed from that job this year for issues unrelated to the Ogle case. She ran for re-election in November and won.

When Alaska’s News Source asked officials in Bosque County via email if the court’s recent finding of elder abuse would affect Sigler taking over as country treasurer again, we were told no.

Alaska’s News Source exchanged a series of emails with Cindy Vanlandingham, the Bosque County judge. In Texas, that job is similar to chief executive officer of the county with a wide range of judicial and administrative power.

When asked if there was anything to stop Carla Sigler from resuming the role of county treasurer, Vanlandingham responded: “Mrs. Sigler was elected by the voters of Bosque County. As far as I know, the only thing that would prevent her from taking office would be an inability to be bonded. That is up to the bonding insurance companies.”

A bond is a sort of insurance policy for the county.

“Would it be accurate to say that the county intends to follow its normal bonding process in this instance?” Alaska’s News Source asked by email.

“That is an accurate statement,” Vanlandingham replied.

For Bosque County, a normal bonding process means the county applies for the elected official and goes through its regular bonding agency.

“Are you aware of any county discussions or investigations into the Treasurer-elect at this time related to this case?” Alaska’s News Source asked.

“I am not,” Vanlandingham replied.

“Has she offered to discuss the possibility of not taking office?” we asked.

“Not that I am aware of,” Vanlandingham replied.

Alaska’s News Source has also learned from the Alaska Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance that the Siglers can appeal the decision against them, but to do so would require what is called a “supersedeas bond.” The head of the office, Beth Goldstein, said that In this case, that would likely mean the Siglers would have to put up “at least the principal amount of the judgment ($688,000).”

A supersedeas bond is designed to prevent a defendant from using up all their assets during a legal fight and having nothing left to pay the judgment.

Carla Sigler is scheduled to be sworn in as Bosque County Treasurer on Jan. 3, 2023.