Doug Evans Awaits Sentencing in Minority Contracting Scheme- WCPO

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CINCINNATI — A judge will decide in the coming weeks how much prison time Evans Landscaping owner Doug Evans should serve, if any, for a minority contracting scheme that a jury convicted him of last year.

A jury convicted Evans and his vice president of operations, Jim Bailey, of six charges related to wire fraud in December after a month-long trial.

But attorneys are still fighting about the punishment for Evans and Bailey, which may range from probation and no prison time to as much as five years behind bars.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors filed sentencing memorandums this week about one of the biggest issues remaining for the judge to decide: the amount of loss suffered in the fraud scheme.

The dollar amount of the fraud could impact the range of prison time recommended for the crimes under federal sentencing guidelines.

A jury convicted Evans of creating a front company, Ergon Site Construction, to win minority and small business demolition jobs from the city of Cincinnati and the state.

“In this case, there is no simple, readily available method to determine the profit gained by Ergon and/or Evans Landscaping with respect to the city demolitions,” prosecutors wrote. “As a result of the amount of fake invoicing between the parties it is effectively impossible to create a reliable estimate of the profits … as a result of this scheme.”

At trial, jurors heard from four former Evans employees who testified that fraudulent invoices, checks, and photos were created to make Ergon seem like a legitimate minority business when in fact it was part of Evans.

“Legitimate SBE (small business enterprise) companies were harmed because their bids were competing against a fraudulent SBE (Ergon) that had the financial resources of a huge company (Evans Landscaping),” Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Glatfelter wrote in her memorandum. “As a result, Evans Landscaping (through Ergon) could afford to bid very aggressively to obtain many demolition contracts, thereby depriving legitimate SBE’s of the available work.”

In addition to sentencing Evans and Bailey, the judge must also decide on how large of a fine to impose against Evans Landscaping, which may pay up to $1.25 million.

The four former Evans employees who pleaded guilty in the scheme and testified for prosecutors at trial are also awaiting sentencing.

Korey Jordan, who was the figurehead of Ergon Site Construction, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Former general manager Mike Moeller, who bid minority state demolition jobs worth $10 million using Evans and Ergon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Former CFO Maurice Patterson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and former CFO John Dietrich pleaded guilty to misprision, or concealment, of a felony, for their roles in the scheme.

Jurors took only four hours to find Evans, Bailey and the company guilty of all charges at the end of the month-long trial, which had involved 40 witnesses and hundreds of documents.

Both Evans and Bailey remain free on bond while they await sentencing.

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