Pa. man accused of having employee kidnapped, tortured to protect ‘corrupt scheme’ in Iraq

WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on charges alleging that he tortured a victim in the Kurdistan region of Iraq in 2015. A superseding indictment returned in the Middle District of Pennsylvania charges Ross Roggio, 53, of Stroudsburg, with suffocating the victim with a belt, threatening to cut off one of the victim’s fingers, and directing Kurdish soldiers to inflict other severe physical and mental pain and suffering on the victim.

“HSI is committed to upholding the law, both within the United States and abroad,” said Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker of the HSI Philadelphia Field Office. “Holding accountable Americans who commit human rights violations like those alleged in this superseding indictment is the chief priority of the No Safe Haven mission. This indictment is the result of extraordinary collaboration between HSI and our law enforcement partners. This case serves as another reminder that HSI works tirelessly to investigate those who seek to escape justice from crimes they commit overseas.”
“The Grand Jury charges that the defendant directed and participated in the systematic torture of an employee whistleblower over the course of 39 days by Kurdish soldiers in Iraq,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. “The grand jury’s indictment and the hard work of our law enforcement partners show that such brutality will be exposed and addressed wherever it occurs.”

“This defendant leveraged his position and used soldiers with a foreign military as his personal brute squad in order to intimidate and coerce someone who was a threat to the success of his corrupt scheme,” said Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office. “Whether in the United States or on foreign soil, heinous acts like torture violate our laws. The FBI has a global reach and working in concert with our federal and international partners, will pursue justice for any victim – here or abroad – who suffers at the hands of an American citizen.”

“The illegal export of firearms parts and tools from the United States is often connected to other criminal acts, to include, as set forth in the superseding indictment, allegations of torture,” said Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office. “The Office of Export Enforcement will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively enforce export violations in the interest of public safety in the U.S. and abroad.”

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the torture charges as well as a maximum statutory penalty of 705 years in prison for the remaining 37 counts.



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