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Owner of landscape company sent to prison, fined for role in fraud

January 13, 2020 -  By

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio reports Doug Evans, owner of Evans Landscaping in Newtown, Ohio, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined $25,000 for wire fraud.

Evans and Jim Bailey, vice president of operations for Evans Landscaping, were convicted following a jury trial in December 2018. Evans Landscaping Inc. was also convicted of the fraud scheme to win small business contracts.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett also fined Evans Landscaping $250,000.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Evans and Bailey — along with others — established, controlled and operated a demolition company, Ergon Site Construction LLC, for the benefit of Evans Landscaping. Ergon’s president and owner, Korey Jordan, had no prior experience in the field but provided IT services for Evans Landscaping. Ergon (with the help of the co-conspirators) fraudulently obtained a certification as a small business enterprise (SBE) contractor with the City of Cincinnati while concealing Evans Landscaping’s involvement in and control over Ergon.  Ergon also fraudulently obtained a State of Ohio Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity program contractor certification as a minority-owned business.

Court documents show from 2011 through 2014, Ergon bid on and received more than 100 residential demolition contracts with the City of Cincinnati, totaling approximately $1.9 million, by leveraging Ergon’s fraudulent SBE status.

Prosecutors also say Evans Landscaping bid on State demolition and construction projects — particularly public school, university and municipal projects —  by claiming Ergon would provide a percentage of the services and receive part of the funds to be paid.

Korey Jordan (president of Ergon), Maurice Patterson (former CFO of Evans Landscaping), John Dietrich (former CFO of Evans Landscaping) and Michael Moeller (former manager at Evans Landscaping) pled guilty in relation to this case. Patterson, Dietrich and Bailey are all scheduled for sentencing later this week.

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