Former Alaska couple ordered to pay $1.47 million for fraud against Yakutat elder
A former Alaska couple has been ordered to pay nearly one and a half million dollars for taking money from a Yakutat elder. The couple took hundreds of thousands of dollars and used it to retire early and buy a home in Texas.
Ogle died in 2020 while the case was still pending. Her heirs are expected to get about a $1 million of the judgment.
A decade ago, former Tanana superintendent of schools Carla Sigler and her husband, Vernon James Sigler, approached a friend with a big ask: The couple wanted a quarter of a million dollars to put towards Carla’s retirement.
Their friend, 86-year-old Yakutat elder Neva Ogle, agreed to lend the Siglers the money. They were all living in Yakutat at the time and knew each other well. In a handshake deal, Ogle wrote the couple a check.
The Siglers started repaying Ogle $1,000 a month. A year or so later, Ogle approached them in an attempt to get the money back. But they asked for more. They told Ogle that the quarter million wasn’t enough and that they needed another $50,000. The Siglers later cashed a check for $450,000 that they said in court was a gift.
But Ogle hadn’t written it. The state later presented evidence that it was Carla Sigler who wrote the check even though Ogle signed it.
That’s according to Beth Goldstein, an attorney with the state’s Office of Public Advocacy.
“So when it comes down to it, what we learned throughout this lawsuit was that these individuals, the Siglers … they took 63% of all of the assets that Neva had on hand, not counting her house,” Goldstein said.
Shortly after receiving the second check, the Siglers moved from Yakutat to Bosque County, Texas, where they purchased a five-bedroom house with a swimming pool — all with Ogle’s money.
Carla Sigler was elected Bosque County Treasurer in 2016. She was removed from office this year after a jury found she hadn’t completed the required continuing education for her position, according to the Clifton Record, a newspaper in Bosque County.
Goldstein says the couple had made Ogle many promises.
“They would pay her back when they sold the auto business,” Goldstein said. “They’d pay her back when they sold — they had a house in Fairbanks, they had a house in Yakutat. Neva received no funds from any of the sales of these things.”
When Ogle was 88 — about a year later — she went to the local police in Yakutat, who recorded her. She told officers that the checks were loans that she wanted to get paid back. She wanted her heirs to have something when she was gone.
Goldstein says this police recording was vital to the case.
“The Yakutat Police Department was instrumental in finding this recording,” she said. “And even though none of the officers were currently with the department anymore, they did come back and testify for us. And they were fantastic.”
The police told Ogle to get something in writing. So she went to the couple — who happened to be in Yakutat at the time — and Carla Sigler drafted an agreement, which Ogle signed. That was April of 2014. The agreement had no minimum payments and forgave the debt upon death.
“And it was completely in Carla’s favor, completely contrary to what we heard Neva wanted in the tape,” Goldstein said.
Months later, when the couple moved to Texas, Ogle went to an attorney and filed a lawsuit. She’d been forced to sell her home and move into an assisted living facility after she had spent much of her remaining savings on living expenses.
The State of Alaska got involved when, in 2016, a bank notified them that Ogle was giving money to a scammer. State attorneys filed for a conservatorship to, if nothing else, stop the bleeding.
Shortly afterward, the state found out about her private lawsuit and offered to step in as the plaintiff.
Ocean census aims to discover 100,000 previously unknown marine species
Researchers have embarked on an ambitious global initiative to discover and record marine life hidden in the world’s oceans.
Ocean Census aims to identify 100,000 unknown species in the next 10 years, allowing scientists to better understand and protect the deep-sea ecosystem.
There are huge gaps in our knowledge of the ocean depths. Of the 2.2 million species believed to exist in the Earth’s oceans, only 240,000 have been described by scientists, according to the census.
It typically takes scientists at least a year to definitively describe a species post-discovery, but new types of technology are making it much easier for sea creatures to be studied in their natural habitat. These include tools like underwater laser scanning that can scan gelatinous creatures such as jelly fish that are hard to study on land.
“You can now look at (the creature) in the water column and see what the morphology is and study them in situ,” said Jyotika Virmani, the executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute in Palo Alto, California, which will participate in the project.
“What we’re moving towards is a place where we can actually perhaps even do taxonomic identification in the water column instead of bringing everything back to land. And that’s really exciting and will make things move a lot faster.”
All living organisms, including humans, disperse genetic material into the environment, and the project will also make use of new and accessible techniques to sample waterborne DNA to detect and track species.
While many of the species discovered are likely to be on the smaller end of the scale, Virmani noted that the world’s longest sea creature was only discovered in 2020 off the coast of Western Australia — a 150-foot stringlike animal known as a siphonophore.
Ocean Census will also help to identify how marine ecosystems are responding to the climate crisis, and assess how marine life could adapt to a warmer climate.
The project is being led by Nekton, a UK-based marine science and conservation institute, and funded by The Nippon Foundation, a nonprofit foundation based in Japan.
Over the next decade, dozens of expeditions to the ocean’s biodiversity hotspots will search for new species involving divers, submarines and deep-sea robots. The project also hopes to involve private vessels and individuals. The data and information gathered will by openly accessible for scientists, policymakers and the public for noncommercial use.
3 tips can help you save if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, personal finance expert Suze Orman says
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can be tough to find money to save.
That was the situation one audience member, Natalie, wrote in about ahead of CNBC’s Women & Wealth event on Tuesday. While grappling with high childcare and housing costs, Natalie is barely breaking even, she wrote, which makes finding money to set aside for big goals like retirement difficult.
A recent CNBC Your Money Financial Confidence Survey, conducted in partnership with Momentive, shows that she is not alone. More than half, or 58%, of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, according to the March results.
If you find setting money aside difficult, it’s a sign that it’s time to change your lifestyle, personal finance expert Suze Orman said.
As part of its National Financial Literacy Month efforts, CNBC will be featuring stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.
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“You have to strike the word ‘can’t’ out of your vocabulary,” Orman said in response to the audience query.
Rather, people should draw up a financial to-do list right now that includes getting out of credit card debt, having an eight- to 12-month emergency fund and funding their retirement accounts, Orman said.
That’s as many experts, including Orman, say a recession could be coming.
But whether there is a recession or not, you need to be prepared that an unexpected event — like an illness, accident or layoff — could set you back, Orman said.
“The most important thing, really, for everybody to understand about their money … is that you have got to live a life below your means, but within your needs,” Orman said.
Several tips can help you get started.
1. Make yourself a ‘No. 1 priority’
Portrait of an elegant man in a suit preparing for an important day at work
Daniloandjus | E+ | Getty Images
People who think they are living paycheck to paycheck likely have something they are doing with money that they should not be doing, Orman said.
For example, if you go out to eat rather than eating in, that’s $10 you could be putting into a Roth individual retirement account — an account for post-tax contributions towards retirement.
“You have to make yourself a No. 1 priority,” Orman said.
That means you do what you have to do in order to meet your financial goals, she said, even if it means taking on more than one job or cutting back on discretionary expenses.
You should be always be funding your retirement accounts, Orman said.
2. Automate your savings
To get into the habit of setting money aside, it’s best to automate the process, Orman said.
So whether you choose to do $50 a month or $100 a month, by setting aside money before you see it in your paycheck, “you will find that you do not miss it,” Orman said.
Inside MT BARBER: The Rising Star in the Barber Shop Industry
Gustavo Olmedo Romero, a professional barber from Oaxaca, Mexico, is making waves in the world of barbering with his brand MT BARBER. Born on September 1, 1986, Gustavo migrated to the United States at the age of 15 in search of a better future. He settled in New Brunswick for two years before moving to Delaware, where he worked multiple jobs, including dishwasher, cook, and gardener.
This period of his life was crucial in shaping his work ethic, and Gustavo is now living his dream.
At the age of 24, Gustavo started learning the profession that had fascinated him since childhood. He taught himself through videos and practice sessions with his friends, and in 2010, he began working in a barber shop where he worked for seven years, honing his skills and becoming a high-level barber. In 2017, Gustavo opened his first barber shop called MT BARBER SHOP, where he employed 12 barbers. Two years later, he opened his second shop with the same name, adding 12 more barbers to his team and expanding his brand.
According to Gustavo, the world of barbering is an excellent profession to learn and grow in, but it requires a lot of discipline and constant learning because haircuts and styles are continually evolving. Gustavo has also worked with professional soccer players, including José Andrés Martínez and Gelmin Rivas. His vision is to expand his brand nationally and internationally, and he knows that it will take a lot of hard work and effort, but he is determined to achieve his goals.
MT BARBER’s Instagram handle is @mexican_talent, and you can book an appointment on their website mtbarbershop.booksy.com. Gustavo Olmedo Romero is changing the world of barbering with his brand, MT BARBER, and he is an inspiration to many aspiring barbers.
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