By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Ray Downs
Then the pair drove a couple blocks east to Sigillito's office.
"It was absolutely disgusting," says Corlija. Mountains of documents were stacked everywhere. There were even small piles of Sigillito's fingernail clippings here and there. "You would only believe it if you saw it. I was amazed."
The very next morning, Corlija says, he told the secretary's story to federal agents at the Bell Center coffee shop downtown. He passed along what she'd provided: a bulging file folder and digital copies of e-mails, thousands of documents in all. The agents immediately arranged a sit-down for the following day with the U.S. Attorney.
On May 19, Stajduhar and her legal counsel took an elevator to the 20th floor of the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse and were offered a deal: If she spilled her guts, and if everything she said was true and complete, the government would not use any of it against her.
Not necessary, Corlija told them. "I was so confident in my client's innocence, I said I didn't even want a proffered agreement in place," Corlija remembers.
What followed, he says, was a five-hour "marathon" Q&A session in which Stajduhar answered question after question accurately from memory.
"The thing about Liz," Corlija says, "is that she was a great record keeper. And she remembers everything."
It was decided right then: She would head over to FBI headquarters, get fitted for a wire and then confront Sigillito upon his return the following week.
Driving to work on the morning of May 24 with the wire in her pocket, Stajduhar prayed over and over, "God, please help me do this right." When she arrived at the Clayton building, she had to pause in the stairwell to collect herself.
Entering the office at last, she was surprised to see a dozen FBI agents already inside. They'd altered their strategy at the last minute and swooped in. Sigillito, weirdly, was seated at Stajduhar's desk, already under interrogation.
"He was so fidgety and anxious," she says. "They let him go but asked me to stay. He didn't know what was going on."
In late January Lynn Ann Vogel opened an e-mail from a stranger saying he'd lent money to Sigillito. When he stopped getting interest checks, he decided to contact her. After all, she was listed on the loan agreement as his legal counsel.
As Lynn Ann Vogel would later testify under oath, she notified her husband, Paul, who flipped through his files. He discovered that for over a year, Sigillito had been slapping her name on lenders' contracts without the couple's knowledge. Three more similar e-mails eventually trickled in.
One of those lenders filed suit against Sigillito in the 22nd Circuit Court on May 26. The plaintiff is known only to the court as Jane Doe. Although she's suing the bishop, so far her attorney, Ted Frapolli, has spent a significant chunk of time grilling the Vogels.
Frapolli deposed the couple on June 21. Paul said he confronted Sigillito about the contracts in January, demanding that he quit using Lynn Ann's name. But beyond that, the Vogels admitted, neither of them notified the lenders or reported Sigillito to the Missouri Bar Association.
Said Paul Vogel of the contracts: "I just stuck them in a file."
The day after their depositions, the Vogels sued Marty Sigillito, complaining that he attached their names to loan agreements without their knowledge or consent.
Dudley McCarter, the Vogels' attorney, says the proof of their innocence lies in the document's shoddy details.
For example, the Vogels are referred to in the documents with the British legal term "solicitors." Yet both are simply licensed Missouri lawyers. "Sigillito had all these references in there to the laws of England and the United Kingdom, which neither Paul nor Lynn Ann know anything about," McCarter says.
Furthermore, McCarter insists, his clients would never affix their names to contracts so riddled with errors. He points to one loan agreement containing odd phrases such as "remedies which July be available" and "any disputes which July arise."
What happened, McCarter believes, was this: Sigillito wished to quickly modify an agreement from the month of May to July. To avoid the tedium of switching "May" to "July" in each instance, he used a word-processing program to change them all at once. That changed phrases such as "remedies may arise" into "remedies July arise."
The amount of money being secured with such a sloppy contract? Only $35,000.
Now the e-mails are pouring in, McCarter says. In the past month, the Vogels have received dozens from passing acquaintances, as well as people they never knew existed.
"Marty used their name and reputation and took advantage of their friendship," McCarter says. "They're angry, sad, shocked, disappointed. I don't know how many words I can use to describe what they're feeling."
Helfrey, Sigillito's legal counsel, declined comment on the matter.
Paul Vogel did make some money out of Sigillito's program. He has testified that he recruited friends, family and clients to invest more than $3 million. This earned him somewhere between $125,000 and $150,000 in finder's fees, which he says he made no attempt to hide.
Yet Vogel, his wife, his father and his mother-in-law invested much more than that — a combined $590,000. Only his mother-in-law ever received any interest payments. Nobody got the principal back.