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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

East St. Louis, Ill. – On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, a federal grand jury in East St. Louis returned a 
nine- count indictment charging a former Aldi executive and a local general contractor with federal 
fraud offenses relating to the construction of Aldi grocery stores throughout Southern Illinois and 
Missouri. Former Aldi Regional Director of Real Estate, Louis Ross, 62, of Florissant, Missouri, 
and the owner of C. Juengel Company, Donald Schniers, 71, of Breese, Illinois, were both charged 
with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and four 
counts of wire fraud.
Aldi Inc. operates a corporate chain of grocery stores with locations nationwide, including dozens 
of stores within the Southern District of Illinois and the St. Louis metropolitan area. Ross served 
as the Director  of  Real  Estate  for  Aldi’s  O’Fallon,  Missouri,  Division,  which  encompasses 
 the  area. According to court documents, Schniers, through C. Juengel, provided general 
contracting services to Aldi  in  connection  with  the  construction  and  renovation  of  Aldi  
stores  in  the  O’Fallon,  Missouri, Division.

Ross  and  Schniers  are  accused  of  conspiring  to  create  the  appearance  of  a  competitive  
bidding environment when one did not exist. The indictment alleges that Ross and Schniers submitted 
fictitious bids in the names of other regional construction companies that were higher than C. 
Juengel’s bids. Using these fictitious high bids from competing construction firms, Ross and 
Schniers ensured that C. Juengel was the lowest bidder on the projects and was ultimately awarded 
the contracts. The indictment further alleges that on at least one occasion, the Defendants altered 
a legitimate bid submitted by one local construction company to increase the amount of the bid to 
be higher than C. Juengel’s bid. On other occasions, the Defendants allegedly created and submitted 
bids for other regional construction companies who had never bid on Aldi projects before.

According to the indictment, C. Juengel was awarded twelve contracts for general contractor 
services between March 2016 and May 2017, as a result of the fraud - valued at over $21 million 
dollars. Because of the lack of competition in the bidding process, Aldi allegedly overpaid for the 
construction and renovation of stores in the O’Fallon, Missouri, Division.

“Individuals and companies who collude to thwart free market competition have a direct and negative 
impact on communities and the American consumer,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Acting Special 
Agent in Charge Joe Rodriguez.   “Today’s indictment demonstrates the commitment of the FBI and our 
partners to investigate anti-competitive behavior and hold accountable those who try to cheat the
system for their own benefit and profit.”

The indictment also charges that Schniers paid Ross monthly kickbacks in exchange for the receipt 
of the Aldi contracts. Over a four-year period, Ross allegedly received $554,000 in kickbacks in 
the form of  checks  drawn  on  C.  Juengel’s  bank  account.  In  addition,  the  indictment  
alleges  that  Ross  also received thousands of dollars in kickbacks from another individual for 
the exclusive right to serve as the civil engineer on  all Aldi new construction  and renovation 
projects  in the O’Fallon, Missouri, Division.
Ross and Schniers are scheduled to appear in federal court in East St. Louis for their arraignments 
on June 10, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., respectively. Each of the counts in the indictment 
carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
United  States  Attorney,  Steven  D.  Weinhoeft  of  the  Southern  District  of  Illinois  made  
the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the Springfield and St. Louis Field Offices of Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, and the St. Louis Field Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zoe J. Gross.

An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under law, a defendant is
presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the
satisfaction of a jury.

Updated May 19, 2022

Financial Fraud