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The Associated Press
Posted : Monday May 7, 2012 19:19:11 EDT

  Republished by Southern Utah Vets Aid

KENAI, Alaska — A Kenai man who created a charity to help troops deployed overseas has been charged with spending much of the donations on himself.

Frank Roach, 52, has been charged with nine counts, including fraud and theft, according to the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions. The charity also was charged.

Roach started Alaska Veterans Outreach Boxes for Heroes in April 2010 in Kenai. He claimed the organization would use donations to send care packages to deployed service members, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

Roach told the newspaper in a 2009 interview that he got the idea in 2006 after sending bathroom supplies and other goods to his nephew, an Army sergeant serving in Iraq. He said his nephew thanked him for the package and told him other soldiers would appreciate similar items.

Roach at times solicited donations in front of a Kenai warehouse store, asking customers to donate what they could, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors said in their announcement of the case that the organization received donations at retail stores from Wasilla to Homer and from telephone solicitations.

Kenai police in October took a complaint from a charity employee. The employee told investigators that most of the money from donations was being spent by Roach or others connected to the organization and not on shipping expenses, as the organization claimed.

Kenai Police Department investigator Jeff Whannell and colleagues interviewed donors and reviewed thousands of pages of financial documents. Boxes for Heroes raised more than $140,000 in donations from April 2010 to October 2011, according to the investigation.

Roach used the money as his sole source of income, according to the investigation, and used donations to pay for living expenses.

The organization’s website, boxesforheroes.com, has been shut down and its phone number is no longer in service. No home phone listing for Roach could be found.

He is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.

Roach is a Navy veteran and former director of fundraising for the Alaska Veterans Foundation.

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