Home Albuquerque Press Releases 2012 Lea County Trio Charged with Federal Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Offenses

Lea County Trio Charged with Federal Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Offenses
Oilfield Waste Disposal Co. Officials Allegedly Embezzled More Than $1.2 Million

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 31, 2012
  • District of New Mexico (505) 346-7274

ALBUQUERQUE—On May 16, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted three former officials of Sundance Services Inc. (Sundance), an oilfield waste disposal company located in Eunice, New Mexico, on wire fraud and money laundering charges. The 68-count indictment, which was unsealed last week, alleges that Donna L. Roach, 40, and Kelly D. Roach, 46, of Eunice, New Mexico, and Michael G. Patterson, 59, formerly of Hobbs, New Mexico, and now residing in Green River, Wyoming, embezzled more than $1.2 million from Sundance between 2005 and 2008.

Kelly Roach was arrested on May 22, 2012 and made his initial appearance in federal court in Roswell, New Mexico that same day. On May 25, 2012, Kelly Roach appeared in federal court in Las Cruces,New Mexico, where he entered a not guilty plea to the indictment. He was released on a $10,000 surety bond and under pre-trial supervision. Donna Roach and Patterson have been summoned to appear in federal court in Roswell for arraignment on the indictment on June 5, 2012.

Count one of the indictment charges the three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Additionally, Donna Roach is charged with 36 counts of wire fraud, Kelly Roach is charged with six counts of wire fraud, and Patterson is charged with five counts of wire fraud. On conviction, the conspiracy charge and substantive wire fraud charges each carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or two times the gross gain or loss involved in the transaction.

Count 41 of the indictment charges all three defendants with conspiracy to commit money laundering. On conviction, this conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the offense. Donna Roach also is charged with 17 counts of money laundering, and Kelly Roach and Patterson are charged with six counts of money laundering. On conviction, each of the substantive money laundering charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of not more than $500,000 or the twice the value of the property involved in the offense.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of property constituting, or derived from proceeds obtained directly, or indirectly, from the defendants’ alleged illegal conduct, including real property located in Eunice, three vehicles, and a motorcycle. It also seeks a money judgment of at least $1.2 million, the amount of money allegedly derived or involved in the offenses charged in the indictment.

According to the indictment, between 1998 and 2008, Donna Roach was employed as president of Sundance, while her husband Kelly Roach and Patterson were employed as the company’s plant manager and sales manager, respectively. The indictment alleges that, between 2005 and 2008, the defendants were actively involved in the management of Sundance while the owner was living abroad and not actively involved in the company’s day-to-day operations. During this period, Donna Roach allegedly had sole responsibility for Sundance’s payroll, bookkeeping, accounting, and human resources.

The indictment alleges that, beginning in at least 2005, Donna Roach entered into a scheme with Kelly Roach and Patterson to defraud Sundance by stealing and embezzling company funds for their personal use. The defendants allegedly perpetuated their scheme in four ways. First, Donna Roach and Patterson allegedly created a fictitious construction company that defrauded Sundance of approximately $752,689 by submitting fraudulent invoices requesting payment for fictitious services. Second, Donna Roach allegedly issued and signed unauthorized paychecks and bonus checks from Sundance accounts that were made payable to Donna Roach, Kelly Roach, and Patterson. Third, Donna Roach and Kelly Roach allegedly used Sundance credit cards for personal, non-business expenses, including vacations, furniture, and elective surgery for Donna Roach. Fourth, Donna Roach allegedly issued and signed numerous checks from a Sundance account to pay third parties for the defendants’ personal expenses, including construction of the personal residence of Donna Roach and Kelly Roach.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard C. Williams and Ravi Sinha.

An indictment is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.