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Aldi overpaid to construct, renovate stores because of fraud involving contractor: Feds

The indictment alleges an executive and contractor submitted fake bids under other regional construction companies' names that were higher than the winning bids.
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ST. LOUIS — A former executive with the Aldi grocery chain and a St. Louis-area general contractor have been indicted on federal fraud charges related to the construction of Aldi grocery stores in Southern Illinois and Missouri.

Louis Ross, 62, of Florissant, former regional director of real estate for Germany-based Aldi, and Donald Schniers, 71, of Breese, the owner of C. Juengel Co., are accused of conspiring to make a bidding process for building Aldi stores appear to be competitive when it wasn't, according to a Thursday press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois.

A federal grand jury in East St. Louis issued the nine-count indictment Tuesday, officials said.

The indictment alleges Ross and Schniers submitted fictitious bids under other regional construction companies' names that were higher than bids by C. Juengel, ensuring that C. Juengel was the lowest bidder on the projects and was awarded the contracts.

C. Juengel was given 12 contracts for general contractor services between March 2016 and May 2017, valued at more than $21 million, according to the indictment. Aldi allegedly overpaid for the construction and renovation of stores in its O’Fallon, Missouri, division because of the lack of competitive bidding, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Ross and Schniers were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud, officials said. They scheduled to appear June 10 in federal court in East St. Louis for their arraignments. 

Read the full story on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

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