Three Former Employees of Evans Landscaping Plead Guilty to Involvement in Defrauding City, State ‘Small Business’ & ‘Minority Business’ Programs
CINCINNATI – Three former employees of Evans Landscaping pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges related to defrauding the City of Cincinnati and other public entities including universities and numerous school districts through fraudulent small business and minority business contracts.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Office, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.
Maurice Patterson, former CFO of Evans Landscaping, and Michael Moeller, former manager at Evans Landscaping, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and mandatory restitution.
John Dietrich, former CFO of Evans Landscaping, pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony. Misprision of a felony carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, up to one year of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and mandatory restitution.
Documents filed with their guilty pleas say Patterson and Moeller conspired with others between 2008 and 2014 to create a company, Ergon Site Construction, LLC, to serve as a fraudulent Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) company for the benefit of Evans Landscaping in obtaining public contracts. Dietrich became aware of the conspiracy and scheme to defraud and helped conceal the crime in 2013.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI’s Southern Ohio Public Corruption Task Force, which includes special agents from the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Timothy S. Mangan and Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter, who are prosecuting the case.