RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a New Jersey man’s conviction and 105-year sentence for selling bogus or defective parts to the U.S. military.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected several claims raised by Roger Charles Day Jr., including that the government violated an extradition treaty with Mexico.
After a nine-day trial, a federal jury in Richmond last year convicted Day on wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and gold smuggling charges. Day led a complex conspiracy involving at least 18 companies that defrauded the Department of Defense out of more than $8.6 million. The former Long Valley, N.J., resident was arrested in Mexico after a sting operation resulting from a segment on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
Day’s attorney, Richard Maurer of Philadelphia, said his client was considering his options. He could either ask the full appeals court to reconsider the case or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his appeal, Day claimed his extradition from Mexico was improper because the trial judge’s jury instructions on the concept of “aiding and abetting” a crime amounted to an 11th-hour amendment to the indictment — a change the Mexican authorities never got the chance to consider before deciding whether to extradite Day.
But the appeals court said it is well established that aiding and abetting “is a theory of liability, not a separate offense,” and the treaty with Mexico prohibits the trial of a person for “an offense” for which extradition has not been granted.
The court also rejected Day’s claim that his sentence was too harsh. Day argued that the government provided no evidence of any soldier harmed or hindered by the faulty parts.
The appeals court noted that 59 percent of the contracts obtained by Day’s companies involved items the military had determined to be essential to weapons system operation or the safety of operating personnel. Day purchased the nonconforming parts — ordinary citizens band radio antennas instead of special military aircraft dome antennas, for example — for an average of just 3.77 percent of the amount he received back in payment from the government.