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Press Release

U.S. Army Reserve Colonel Accused of Stealing Thousands in Unearned Military Pay Entitlements

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah, returned an indictment Feb. 21, 2024, charging a U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, formerly of Utah’s 76th Operational Response Command, for his role in defrauding the United States out of more than $60,000 in unearned military pay entitlements. 

The announcement comes as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s ongoing efforts with the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division to address military pay fraud that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to court documents, Reece Dennis Roberts, 53, of Herriman, Utah, misrepresented his and his family’s primary residence in Utah, fabricated lease and listing documents, and submitted over a dozen false vouchers to military officials from June 2020 through July 2021. Though Roberts and his family lived in Herriman, Utah from 2020–2021, the indictment alleges that, upon receiving orders calling him to active duty at Fort Douglas, Utah, Roberts changed his primary residence to an out-of-state address that neither he nor his family occupied. In doing so, Roberts claimed entitlement to a family separation allowance, reimbursement for personal lodging expenses, and other entitlements that were not available to local servicemembers.

As further alleged in the indictment, the defendant duped military officials into paying him $3,700 per month in lodging reimbursements for a house he did not rent or own. The indictment alleges he accomplished this by fabricating a lease agreement and online listing for the fictitious rental, orchestrating sham rent payments, and repeatedly submitting false vouchers to military officials. Additionally, Roberts allegedly worked with an unindicted co-conspirator, recruited a third person to receive sham rent payments and return the payments to Roberts’ bank account using Venmo. This allowed Roberts to create fake rent receipts that were submitted to military officials every month for reimbursement.  

 “This type of deceit and misconduct is unacceptable for servicemembers at any rank, but it is particularly disheartening when committed by a field grade officer during a national emergency,” said U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah. “The vast majority of servicemembers in Utah are law-abiding and deserve the utmost appreciation for keeping the people of Utah safe. My office remains committed to working with military officials and other law enforcement partners to prosecute military fraud and corruption.”

Roberts is charged with various federal crimes, including filing a fraudulent claim against the United States, conspiring to defraud the United States, theft of government property, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Roberts’ initial court appearance on the indictment is scheduled for March. 13, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. 

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the case. 

Assistant United States Attorney Tanner Zumwalt of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah is prosecuting the case. 

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
USAO-UT | Facebook | Twitter

Updated February 23, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-23