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Fort Gordon colonel, co-defendants plead not guilty to bribery and other charges

Anthony and Audra Roper.

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By LINDSEY HODGES | Aiken Standard, S.C. | Published: July 12, 2017

U.S. Army Col. Anthony Tyrone Roper from Ft. Gordon, his wife Audra Roper and a third co-defendant, Dwayne Oswald Fulton, all appeared for their initial appearance and arraignment at the federal courthouse in Augusta on Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps.

All three defendants pleaded not guilty to an indictment by a federal grand jury that included counts of conspiracy, bribery, false statements and obstruction of justice.

C. Troy Clark, assistant United States Attorney, stated during the hearing that the case is still being investigated as it relates to the three co-defendants and other individuals and companies.

He said the government has a hard drive, statements from witnesses, contracting documents and computer files, along with other evidence.

All three defense attorneys asked for 90 days to examine evidence before the next proceedings. Judge Epps granted the request.

The indictment says that Roper was an active duty colonel in the U.S. Army and, "aided and abetted by others, sought and received bribe payments in return for steering and awarding U.S. Army and private company contracts."

According to the indictment, a man only identified by initials "CDL," retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army in 2008. "Before his retirement," the charges state," he established Communications, Research, Engineering, and Consultants Group, LLC ('CREC Group') with the plan to obtain U.S. Army contracts after his departure."

"CDL, aided and abetted by the Defendants and others, provided false and fictitious information and paid bribes to public officials, including to Defendant Anthony Tyrone Roper, all in an effort to obtain over $20 million in U.S. Army and private company contracts," the document says.

The indictment says Fulton provided false information to the U.S. Army to "obtain contracts and work for CDL, CREC Group, Fulton's own employer and others." The indictment also says he is the owner and operator of OzTEK Research, a shell company used to generate false invoices in an effort to obstruct an investigation into bribery payments made to Col. Roper.

Anthony Roper, Audra Roper and Dwayne Fulton are all charged with one count of conspiracy.

The indictment against Anthony Roper includes three counts of bribery. The indictment lists three transactions from CREC Group to Roper's personal bank account, in December 2012, 2013 and 2014. The amounts that were transferred were $25,000, $20,000 and $15,000 respectively.

Anthony Roper is charged in the indictment with three counts of false statements for stating that he had not received any income from prohibited sources, including CDL and CREC Group.

Audra Roper is charged with one count of false statements. The indictment states that during an interview with federal law enforcement agents, she stated that she had never heard of Quadar Group, a shell company used to funnel bribe payments to Anthony Roper, which the indictment says the was the owner and operator of, and that she was not aware that Anthony Roper had received payments from CDL or CREC Group.

All three defendants were charged with one count of obstruction of justice in the indictment.

All three co-defendants waived the right to a formal reading of the indictment and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment.

Fulton's bond was set at $50,000, and the Ropers' bonds were both set at $75,000. Judge Epps agreed with the Ropers' defense attorneys that the amount should be equal to Fulton's and their bonds were lowered to $50,000.

Before adjourning, Judge Epps reminded the courtroom that there was still a presumption of innocence for the three defendants.

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(c)2017 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.)
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