Crime Watch 8

5 Hoosiers sentenced for efforts to steal $8.4M in construction fraud

The FBI seal is seen before FBI Director Christopher Wray news conference on the inspector general's report at FBI headquarters on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Five central Indiana residents and a Detroit, Michigan, man face imprisonment after being found guilty in a yearslong fraud conspiracy that involved construction projects in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana, federal authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district court in Indianapolis says the six people were responsible for stealing more than $8.4 million from a bank and an insurance company, both based in Pennsylvania. A release from the office said it did not name the bank nor the insurance company because they are victims in the cases.

The owner of Remarkable Creative Enterprises, 40-year-old Ernie Perkins of Zionsville, received the longest prison sentence: 70 months. He was sentenced Friday.

Five other people were sentenced late last year:

  • John L. Williams, 52, Zionsville, a former employee of the victim bank: 108 months imprisonment. Williams was employed as a construction project manager in the Indianapolis regional office of the victim bank.
  • Robert Finch, 73, Indianapolis, owner of Finch Constructors and Finch Management: 48 months imprisonment.
  • Donald Landis, 59, Plainfield, owner of P&L Supply: 36 months imprisonment.
  • Walter Watson, 72, Detroit, Michigan, owner of W-3 construction company: 18 months imprisonment.
  • Shalonda Coleman, 45, Indianapolis, a former employee of the insurance company: 24 months imprisonment.

The release said, “In carrying out the scheme, Williams would use information available to him as a bank employee to identify construction and renovation projects that were projected to come in under budget. Williams would then contact Perkins, Finch, Watson, and Landis and instruct them to submit fraudulent invoices on those under-budget projects for work that was never performed and materials that were never supplied. Williams used his position at the bank and his oversight of the projects in question to approve payment of the fraudulent invoices. Once the bank paid the invoices, Perkins, Finch, Watson, and Landis would kick back a large percentage of the money to CB Consulting, a fictitious business entity controlled by Williams.”

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