Monday, August 15, 2022

Army veteran pleads guilty to receiving, selling stolen tools from Fort Eustis

U.S. Army veteran Francis “Edward” Roach, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to receiving and selling stolen items that were delivered to Fort Eustis, including boxes of tools and equipment. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Department of Justice)
U.S. Army veteran Francis “Edward” Roach, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to receiving and selling stolen items that were delivered to Fort Eustis, including boxes of tools and equipment. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Department of Justice)

A retired soldier from Yorktown has pleaded guilty to receiving and selling stolen government property.

U.S. Army veteran Francis “Edward” Roach, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to receiving and selling stolen items that were delivered to Fort Eustis, including boxes of tools and equipment, according to court documents.

“The property received and stolen by Roach was a portion of an over $800,000 fraud committed by civilian employees of the Department of Defense, who were also retired soldiers,” the Department of Justice said in a release Tuesday.

Roach, owner of A&E Automotive Repair of Denbigh in Newport News, received the goods from Roy E. Friend, who worked as the chief of logistics and program management for the Aviation and Missile Command at Fort Eustis from Aug. 2010 to mid-2015.

A Department of Justice news release said Friend made over 600 orders and fraudulently obtained over about $2.3 million in goods from General Services Administration Global Supply, a U.S. government department that offers products, services and facilities for federal agencies.

Documents say a civilian defense contractor at Fort Eustis, listed in the statement of facts as J.B., had numerous items shipped to Friend for personal use from GSA Global Supply between Aug. 19, 2010, and May 20, 2014.

J.B. fraudulently used his supervisor’s GSA Advantage account to purchase the items. Some of the items were valued at over $500.

After receiving the items ordered by J.B., Friend would use them personally or give them to others.

Some of the items were taken to A&E Automotive, where they were resold for private financial gain, court records show.

“Roach sold items to individuals at discounted prices providing false explanations as to how he obtained the equipment,” the Department of Justice said.

Some stolen items were delivered to A&E Automotive in Friend’s civilian vehicle. On at least one occasion, J.B. delivered the items to the shop in a government vehicle.

On June 24, 2015, federal agents searched A&E Automotive and found DeWalt, Hobart, Kohler and Ingersoll Rand tools, which were purchased through Friend’s government GSA Advantage account.

Roach is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 18 and faces up to 10 years in prison. Friend pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 33 months in prison in July 2017.

The third defense contractor, J.B., is not listed by full name in court records, although the Department of Justice said Tuesday he was sentenced “along with” Friend.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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