Creator of Boxes for Heroes waits for court's decision on motion to dismiss indictment

State files opposition to motion

The Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals filed its opposition to the motion to dismiss the indictment charging Frank Roach with scheming to defraud through his organization, Alaska Veterans Outreach Boxes for Heroes.

 

The state charges 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.”

Roach was indicted May 4, 2012 on nine counts — one count of scheming to defraud, one first-degree theft count and seven counts of second-degree theft.

Defense attorney David Katz filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Roach on July 17. Assistant Attorney General Robert Henderson with OSPA filed an opposition to the motion on July 31.

The motion to dismiss claims the state mislead the Grand Jury about Boxes for Heroes’ non-profit and tax-exempt status and provided “incompetent and inaccurate testimony regarding the management of non-profits.”

In the motion, the defense says there is nothing in the Alaska Non-profit Corporations Act that does not allow a single board member from advising organization spending. The act also does not specify whether certain percentages of funds need to go to a particular area, according to the motion.

The state refuted these claims in its opposition saying Roach didn’t apply for Boxes for Heroes tax exemption non-profit status until nearly two months after he and the organization were indicted. OSPA’s opposition states Roach claimed the corporation was tax-exempt and non-profit when he was soliciting donations, according to a witness. According to the opposition, Roach told donors “all of the money collected would be going to pay for the care packages and shipping costs. … But none of the cash donated to the organization ever made it into the corporate bank account.” That state claims because Roach did not keep any records for the corporation, there is no way to measure how much money was embezzled.

The defense claims the state’s first witness, a former employee for Boxes for Heroes, presented hearsay evidence. The motion contains Grand Jury testimony by the witness who says he brought the ledger log for Boxes for Heroes to his accountant because he wanted to “make sure everything was legit.” His accountant said there were some problems with the log. The witness went to the police with the information after the corporation did not want to hold a board meeting.

The motion argues the witness’s testimony about the accountant evaluation is inadmissible and harmful hearsay because it is trying to be passed as expert opinion and will taint jurors’ perception of other evidence in the case.

The opposition argues the witness’s testimony was not hearsay because it was presented to explain why the witness wanted to hold a board meeting, went to the police and why the investigating officer sought search warrants for the Boxes for Heroes’ bank records. “The testimony was not offered for the truth of the matter asserted,” the opposition reads.

The final reason the motion gives for dismissing the indictment is the state didn’t present evidence that may show Roach’s innocence. The state presented evidence that 1,200 boxes were delivered to National Guard armories for shipment, but the state failed to present witness testimony on this evidence, according to the motion. According to the motion, the investigating officer for the case interviewed a witness with the National Guard who claimed the National Guard received 2,000-4,000 boxes while Roach was “operating the program with other organizations” prior to Boxes for Heroes. “(This information) show(s) that Boxes for Heroes was not a fraud,” the motion states.

In OSPA’s refute of this accusation it says, the organization collected “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” but only donated 1,200 boxes, according to testimony by two witnesses who delivered packages to two different armories. That state claims the 2,000-4,000 boxes that were received while Roach was working with different organizations is not evidence that standing alone proves Roach is not guilty of the charges.

The assistant attorney general suggests the court should deny the defense’s motion to dismiss the indictment.

Roach’s next court date is scheduled for Jan. 15. 2014.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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