Doug Evans and Evans Landscaping conviction to defraud minorities up-held by United States District Court
Doug Evans exercised, “Complete control over Ergon’s operations to ensure that the fruits of the fraud go to Evans Landscaping.”
Evans faces twenty-one months in prison
Loveland, Ohio Defendants Doug Evans, a white man, and Evans Landscaping Inc. were tried and convicted of two wire fraud conspiracies and three wire fraud cases arising from their scheme to secure government contracts with a Shell company.
Newtown-based Evans Landscaping has a satellite location on East Kemper Road outside Loveland in Symmes Township.
In a ruling issued yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals denied Evans’ motion for repression, various evidence decisions in the process, and a jury instruction from the district court.
“We find no merit in the first two issues. With regard to the instructions of the jury, we conclude
The district court had made a mistake by instructing the jury that a defendant could knowingly and knowingly determine
voluntarily joined the conspiracy through willful ignorance. However, the defendants have not saved this issue for review and fail to meet the demanding standard for simple errors in the appeal process. Accordingly, we confirm the judgment of the district court. “
The Defendant Evans Landscaping Incorporated is an Ohio corporation
Transportation, demolition and excavation services. The company is controlled by its President, the Defendant Doug Evans. It is also 100% owned by a trust whose sole beneficiary is Doug Evans.
Around 2006 Evans Landscaping began placing demolition contracts
were offered by government agencies such as the state of Ohio and the city of Cincinnati. The
Company found success in this niche and received several contracts. However, government agencies began to include “minority participation” targets as a criterion for evaluating public works bids, and these targets later became mandatory bid components. In state contracts, minority involvement has generally been expressed as a percentage of the work that would be performed by an “EDGE” certified contractor who met Ohio’s definition of a Minority Business Entity (MBE).
The city of Cincinnati was also looking to see if an offer was made by a particular company
as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) in the management of municipal contracts. Evans Landscaping failed to qualify for EDGE or SBE status. Therefore to bypass locally
Evans Landscaping employees were looking for a “go-to” minority
Contractor for work on public contracts. To that end, Doug Evans, Evans Landscaping CFO Maurice Patterson, and other Evans Landscaping executives met to discuss starting a new company they named Ergon Site Construction.
At that meeting, Doug Evans told Patterson to “go ahead and get going [Ergon] up ”because“ Evans Landscaping needed every help [it] could sign contracts. As a result, Patterson, in coordination with Evans Landscaping’s in-house attorney, submitted the required filing to launch Ergon Site Construction in 2008.
Ergon’s organizational documents stated that it supposedly belonged to an African
The American IT consultant named Korey Jordan had worked for Evans Landscaping. But
Jordan had no experience running a construction company and did not invest any of his own in Ergon’s operation. Jordan understood that Ergon “was established between [him]Himself and Evans to do government work ”and that his job was to do“ all the paperwork ”for Ergon. In exchange for his work, Jordan received $ 1,000 per month (later increased to $ 2,000), and Evans Landscaping received “essentially the profits from the contracts signed with Ergon.”
Evans Landscaping and Jordan spent the next two years helping build Ergon’s résumé
a couple of small jobs done with Evans landscaping resources. But in 2010 Jordan
was informed that “in order for Ergon to exist”, he had to receive EDGE certification from the state and
SBE certification from the City of Cincinnati. He first applied for SBE status from the city and
Misrepresented that he owned 100% Ergon and personally ran the company’s finances.
The city approved Ergon’s application in 2011 and began bidding on contracts as an SBE
offered by the city at the direction of Evans Landscaping. By 2014 the city had awarded
About 170 contracts with Ergon valued at around $ 2,000,000. Ergon also applied for and received EDGE certification from the state of Ohio. Evans Landscaping then began to include Ergon as an EDGE subcontractor in its offerings, but Ergon rarely, if ever, performed the work Evans Landscaping represented.
The respective programs started between 2013 and 2014 when local officials collapsed
became suspicious of the relationship between Evans Landscaping and Ergon. The appeals court said in its ruling: “In truth, it was not required that Holmesians infer the relationship between the companies.” For example, Ergon sometimes used heavy machinery that bore the Evans Landscaping logo. Ergon also outsourced and shipped its two work trucks from an Evans landscaping facility – even after Patterson suggested to Doug Evans that this was incompatible with an “independent” operation by Ergon. The verdict continues, “So it was only a matter of time before officials became suspicious of the leisurely
Relationship between the companies, and they responded to their suspicions by checking Ergon several times. ”
The heightened controls, in turn, drew the attention of the FBI, which opened its own
2013 investigation. As part of that investigation, FBI Special Agent Matthew DeBlauw
Search warrants performed on several Evans Landscaping properties, including the location of the Symmes parish, and additional search warrants on email accounts related to Doug Evans and Korey Jordan.
In 2017, the FBI’s investigation bore fruit when a grand jury returned an indictment
Charges against Evans Landscaping Inc., Doug Evans and Jim Bailey (the Evans Vice Presidents)
Landscaping) with two wire fraud cases in violation of 18 USC § 1349 (one each for the Cincinnati SBE and State of Ohio EDGE programs) and three wire fraud cases in violation of 18 USC § 1343. The government also received cause of action
Agreements by Jordan, Patterson and two other Evans Landscaping executives about their roles in the Ergon program.
After four weeks of trial, the jury came to a guilty verdict on all counts. The court
sentenced Doug Evans to twenty-one months in prison and fined Evans Landscaping $ 500,000, among others.
In the judgment, the court stated, “Thus, the evidence shows that Doug Evans – as someone with no documented ownership or management interest in Ergon – was personally involved in all aspects of the company’s operations. He was everywhere: approving Ergon’s logos and business cards, approving minor quotes submitted by Ergon’s supposed owner, and instructing where Ergon’s trucks should be kept. ”
The judges added, “Beyond everyday life, Doug Evans made the big decisions. It was his word that put the program into action and his direction that over time kept Ergon in business and instituted the government treaties. In short, Doug Evans joined the conspiracy at its inception and furthered the purpose of the conspiracy agreement in two ways: (1) by maintaining and strengthening the Ergon facade to mislead government officials about her relationship with Evans Landscaping; and (2) by having complete control over Ergon’s operations to ensure that the fruits of the fraud benefit Evans Landscaping. “