Court of Appeals upholds Evans Landscaping convictions

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The United States’ Sixth Court of Appeals ruled Thursday confirming the beliefs of Cincinnati businessman Doug Evans and his landscaping firm.

Evans and Evans Landscaping Inc. were tried and convicted in December 2018 of two wire fraud conspiracies and three wire fraud cases arising out of their plan to secure government contracts with a Shell company. After a four-week trial, the defendant and his company were found guilty of all counts and convicted of fraud against the city of Cincinnati and other public institutions by fraudulently obtaining small business and minority business contracts.

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

On his appeal, Evans objected to the rejection of his request for the suppression of evidence, the district court’s handling of various litigation issues, and the jury’s instructions at the end of the trial.

During the pre-trial trial, Evans tried to suppress evidence obtained through search warrants, arguing that doing so violated his fourth amendment rights. The district court denied the motion, and the appeals court upheld the denial on Thursday.

Evans also argued that the United States case “was largely built on email,” which was hearsay. The appeals court confirmed that the emails were indeed exempt from hearsay rules because they were business records.

The defense also attempted to appeal the conviction based on details of the jury’s instructions given at the end of the trial. The appellate court rejected this argument, however, because the defense had no objection to the instructions at the time of their submission and, in any event, “the evidence largely shows that the defendants joined the conspiracy and expressly intended to further its cause. ”

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

Vipal J. Patel, acting United States attorney for the southern district of Ohio, released Thursday’s appeal statement. Appeals Leader Mary Beth Young represented the United States on the appeal process. Deputy Deputy Chief Detective Timothy S. Mangan and Deputy Criminal Investigator Emily N. Glatfelter are pursuing the underlying criminal case.

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