Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to clarify the amount of jail time and amount of money Frank Roach would owe upon conviction.
After nearly three years of delays, Frank Roach will be tried in Kenai Superior Court on charges that he embezzled money from an organization that was claiming to send care packages to deployed soldiers.
The proceedings began Tuesday with prosecution and defense attorneys quizzing potential jurors about affiliations with the military, feelings toward being cheated, and experiences with small businesses and accounting.
Roach faces nine charges which include scheme to defraud and various degrees of theft. Two of the charges are class B felonies and seven are class C felonies. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each B felony and five years and $50,000 in fines for each C felony.
The charges stem from an organization Roach started in 2010 called “Alaska Veterans Outreach Boxes for Heroes.” The organization collected donations under the premise that it would send care packages to troops overseas.
An investigation led by Kenai Police Department Investigator Jeff Whannell revealed that the charity had raised more than $140,00 in donations from April 2010 to October 2011. The state is alleging that Roach used that money as his sole source of income.
Roach previously told the Clarion that while he did some things wrong, such as failing to register telemarketers working for his company and having illegible financial disclosures, his organization did what it said it would do.
“When this thing finally goes to court, our intentions will be examined. What were our intentions? To give care packages to the troops, which is exactly what we did,” he said during a 2012 interview.
Roach was nearly 40 minutes late to the 10 a.m. trial call, though his attorney and the prosecutor said it was for good reason — a late night assault.
Defense Attorney Andrew Miller told Kenai Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman that Roach was on his way to the courthouse.
“Mr Roach is the victim in this assault,” said the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals State Prosecutor Charles Agerter. “He was punched in the face … I don’t know the extent of his injuries.”
Roach finally arrived, service dog in tow, and apologized to the judge for being late.
Before jury selection began, Bauman told Roach that if he were to be convicted of any of the felony charges — he would likely be arrested in the courtroom and not allowed to leave.
“So, on that day, good idea not to bring a pen knife or a lighter and to maybe have some arrangements for your dog,” he said. “Just in case, I don’t know what the ruling is going to be.”
Jury selection will continue Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
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