A trial date in the case against the president of the Alaska Veterans Outreach Boxes for Heroes organization has been delayed another three months while the man charged with scheming to defraud the community recovers from surgery.
Frank Roach, 55, was indicted May 4, 2012 on nine counts – scheme to defraud, first-degree theft and seven counts of second-degree theft. Scheme to defraud and first-degree theft are class B felonies and carry a
penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
At a trial call hearing Wednesday, Kenai Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman set a new trial date in the Roach case for Feb. 23, 2015. Roach’s attorney Greg Parvin requested a new date because he said his client had surgery scheduled for Friday and would be in recovery when the trial was scheduled to start on Monday.
Neither Parvin or Roach, who both participated in the hearing telephonically, specified Roach’s medical condition or procedure.
Charles Agerter state prosecutor with the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, said he objected to the continuance because the news of the surgery “came up at the last minute.” Agerter took over the case from Chief Assistant Attorney General Robert Henderson on Sept. 29.
“Plenty of defendants have medical issues,” Agerter said. “I don’t blame the defense. It is just frustrating to hear about this a week before the trial. This case has been around a long time.”
Agerter said he would need another month to gather witnesses for trial.
A trial date has been pushed back since 2012 while Roach has changed attorneys and battled health complications.
Roach missed a representation hearing in August while he was in Wasilla receiving medical care for a “life-threatening” condition, Bauman said.
On September 5, Parvin became the fourth attorney appointed to represent Roach. On Wednesday, Roach said after the surgery he would still need time to recover before he could meet with his attorney.
Parvin’s office submitted a letter to the court dated Dec. 10 that notified the court of Roach’s medical procedure for Friday.
Parvin said he was unaware of news of the surgery because he recently took over the case.
“I don’t expect people would want to be in court in his condition,” Parvin said.
Bauman said Roach missed another representation hearing earlier Wednesday with Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet. Bauman asked how long before Roach would be ready for trial.
“It depends on his health,” Parvin said.
Agerter said if Roach has further complications, the court should be notified sooner.
The Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals allege Roach did not use the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by Alaskans to Boxes for Heroes to create care packages for U.S. troops overseas, but instead used the money to support his lifestyle and pay his employees.
Kenai Police Investigator Jeff Whannell led the case against Roach and the organization he took over in 2010. The investigation revealed the Boxes for Heroes nonprofit raised more than $140,000 in donations from April 2010 to October 2011.
A motion to dismiss the indictment, filed by Roach’s previous attorney David Katz on July 17, 2013, claimed the state misled the Grand Jury about Boxes for Heroes nonprofit and tax-exempt status and provided “incompetent and inaccurate testimony regarding the management of nonprofits.”
The state opposed the motion saying Roach didn’t apply for tax exemption nonprofit status until nearly two months after he was indicted. The state argued the Grand Jury had substantial evidence that Roach was not raising money for troops overseas but using the donations to support his personal expenses.
“Roach freely admitted that the organization was his sole source of income,” according to the opposition filed in court July 31, 2013.
Bauman denied the motion to dismiss the indictment in February.
A status hearing was set for Jan. 26 in Kenai. Roach has been out on bail since 2012.
Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org