BENTON, IL — A 71-year-old Breese man is one of two men indicted in federal court with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with Aldi stores in the region. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the owner of C. Juengel Company, Donald Schniers of Breese and former Aldi Regional Director of Real Estate, 62-year-old Louis Ross, of Florissant, Missouri, 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.
According to court documents, Schniers provided general contracting services to Aldi in connection with the construction and renovation of Aldi stores in the O’Fallon, Missouri, Division. 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.