Texas family sentenced in hurricane relief fraud case

Photo: NASA

LUFKIN, Texas (AP) -- An East Texas minister and his family have been sentenced to federal prison for using hurricane relief funds to pay for personal expenses and fund their Jasper church.

Walter Diggles, the former executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, was sentenced Tuesday to 9 years. The 66-year-old was also ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution. His wife and daughter, Rosie and Anita Diggles, were each sentenced to more than four years and ordered to pay about $970,000 in joint restitution.

Walter Diggles and his wife were convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in August 2017. Their daughter was convicted of a conspiracy charge.

Trial evidence shows that the Diggles defrauded federal authorities out of recovery funds intended for hurricanes Rita, Katrina, Ike and Dolly.

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