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Court upholds Evans Landscaping convictions

April 6, 2021 -  By
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The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling affirming the convictions of Cincinnati businessman Doug Evans and his landscaping company, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Evans and Evans Landscaping were tried and convicted in December 2018 of two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud arising out of their scheme to secure government contracts through a shell company.

After four weeks at trial, the defendant and his company were found guilty on all counts and convicted of defrauding the City of Cincinnati and other public entities by fraudulently obtaining contracts reserved for small and minority businesses.

In January 2020, Evans was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Evans Landscaping was ordered to pay half a million dollars in fines.

In his appeal, Evans challenged the denial of his motion to suppress evidence, the District Court’s handling of various trial issues and the jury instructions provided at the end of the trial.

During pretrial proceedings, Evans moved to suppress evidence obtained with search warrants, arguing that it violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The District Court denied the motion and the Court of Appeals upheld that denial.

Evans also argued that the United States’ case “was overwhelmingly built on emails” that were hearsay. The Court of Appeals upheld that the emails were actually exempt from the hearsay rules as they were business records.

The defense also attempted to appeal the conviction based on specifics of the jury instructions given at the conclusion of the trial; however, the Court of Appeals rejected this argument because the defense did not object to the instructions at the time they were presented and because “the evidence overwhelmingly established that defendants joined the conspiracy and specifically intended to further its purpose.”

Evans is scheduled to report next month to serve his prison sentence.

Vipal J. Patel, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the appellate opinion. Appellate Chief Mary Beth Young represented the U.S. on appeal. Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief Timothy S. Mangan and Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter prosecuted the underlying criminal case.

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