Monday, December 11, 2023

Newport News businessman, ex-soldier, stole Army property

A Yorktown man who owns an auto repair shop in Newport News on Tuesday admitted he received and sold stolen government property.

Army veteran Francis “Edward” Roach, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court 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 news release.

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 August 2010 to mid-2015.

Friend made more than 600 orders and fraudulently obtained 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, federal prosecutors said.

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, according to court papers.

J.B. fraudulently used his supervisor’s GSA Advantage account to purchase the items. Some of the items were valued at more than $500, according to court documents.

After receiving the items ordered by J.B., Friend would use them 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.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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