Craighead Circuit Judge John Fogleman Wednesday entered a $9 million judgment against Jonesboro accountant Edward M. Cooper Jr. for money he embezzled from Roach Manufacturing Corporation since at least 1996.

Roach had sued both Cooper and his wife Lanita, but the judge ruled yesterday only on motions for summary judgment against Edward Cooper. The judge said there was “no genuine issue of material fact” as to Roach’s claim against Edward Cooper. He set the judgment at $9,009,879 and ordered 5 percent interest beginning Wednesday.

Roach, which builds conveyor systems and is based in Trumann, had initially claimed $4.5 million, but upped the claim after review of older records.  Cooper had been Roach’s sole accountant for more than 20 years. KAIT reported at the time of the amended complaint:

The amended complaint also alleges that the couple “have lived a lavish lifestyle of spending and consuming the stolen funds of Roach for their own personal benefit.”

“The Coopers lived a lifestyle of annually spending more than ten times their earnings, year after year, for the past twenty years. The past five years provide a clear example of the active participation of both Ed Cooper and Lanita Cooper in this scheme,” attorneys allege in the complaint. “In each of these years, the Coopers signed and filed joint tax returns showing that their combined gross income was between $50,000 and $70,000. During those same years, their joint bank accounts and credit card records show they were spending in excess of $600,000 each year.”

In a filing in February, Edward Cooper admitted that he misappropriated money, but said Lanita Cooper bore no responsibility and should not be liable.