AG Shapiro: 3 Arrested, $850k Reimbursed in Company Fraud Scheme

December 14, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of three former company executives from Boucher & James, Inc., headquartered in Doylestown, Pa., for allegedly repeatedly billing municipal and other clients the cost of fictitious time and for covering up their scheme. Boucher & James provides services in land planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, surveying, and building code compliance to more than 30 municipalities.

“These company executives took advantage of their municipal clients’ trust by routinely overbilling for work that never happened,” said AG Shapiro. “Let’s be clear about what this means: when you bill for time that you didn’t work, you are stealing — and these former Boucher & James executives will be held accountable for their crimes.”

The theft and cover-up efforts of former owner and board member Ross Boucher and former managing directors Mark Eisold and David Jones were discovered by another managing director in 2018. While reviewing bills, he found that Eisold had handwritten additional hours into the draft invoices of his client thereby adding employee work time billed to the client; one employee was recorded as having worked 34 hours in a single day.

After discovering this discrepancy, the managing director reviewed Eisold’s other billing and found that Eisold was overbilling consistently. The managing director informed his colleagues of the discrepancies and subsequently reported his findings to law enforcement.

The Office of Attorney General opened an investigation into Boucher & James after receiving a referral from the Northampton County District Attorney. A review conducted by the Attorney General and a team of forensic accountants revealed that, between 2009 and 2018, the company’s employees stole approximately $2.1 million from clients. The defendants received bonuses they would otherwise not have received as a result of this theft.

Between 2009 and 2018, more than 100 entities suffered losses as a result of this theft, including: Lower Makefield Township, Springfield Township, Richland Township Board of Supervisors, Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, Souderton Borough, Cheltenham Township, Smithfield Township, Ivyland Borough and Pocono Township.

Since the fraud came to light, Boucher & James has reconstituted the Board of Directors and cooperated fully in the investigation by the Office of Attorney General. The defendants resigned from their positions and the practice of overbilling ceased. Earlier this month, the Office of Attorney General entered into a settlement agreement with Boucher & James. Under this agreement, the company repaid more than $851,000 in overbilled funds to clients dating back to January 1, 2015. In light of these facts, the company will not be charged.

Ross Boucher, Mark Eisold, and David Jones have all been charged with Theft by Deception, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property, Deceptive Business Practices, Corrupt Organizations and Conspiracy.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirsten Heine is prosecuting the case. The investigation was conducted by Special Agents Joseph Daniels and Wendell Buck. Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Adrian Shchuka, Asset Forfeiture Section and Forensic Accountants Monique Ericson and Kori Bogard, assisted with the investigation and settlement. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The company admitted no wrongdoing.

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