Federal appeals court upholds convictions in Doug Evans, landscaping company fraud case
CINCINNATI – The Sixth Circle Appeals Court upheld the beliefs of local businessman Doug Evans and his landscaping company Evans Landscaping.
Vipal Patel, the acting US attorney for the southern district of Ohio, announced the verdict in a press release Thursday afternoon.
In January 2020, a federal judge sentenced Evans to 21 months in prison after he and his company were convicted of five wire fraud cases. Evans had used a shell company to get government contracts for small and minority companies. Evans Landscaping was fined $ 500,000.
Thursday’s ruling came in response to a petition in court asking the court to suppress evidence gathered by the FBI during its investigation into the von Evans company. The U.S. District Court initially denied that motion, and the Sixth Circuit upheld its decision on Thursday.
The application was intended to suppress around two million documents that federal agents received during a 2015 raid on the company’s premises. Evans’ attorneys argued that the raid, carried out by agents under the authority of four separate search warrants, violated his Fourth Amendment rights and that the emails retrieved were hearsay.
The appeals court upheld an earlier decision Thursday that the emails were exempt from hearsay rules because they were viewed as business records.
Although convicted more than a year ago, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed Evans’ incarceration. As of Thursday, he should start this sentence in April.
Beyond federal criminal proceedings, Evans’ company is the defendant in a recent Union Township lawsuit for alleged zoning and land use violations.
Previous reports by WCPO 9 I team reporter Paula Christian contributed to this story.