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Richland Township Officials Receive Partial Compensation from Engineer’s Fraud Scheme
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2021-01-13

            Officials in Richland Township will be reimbursed approximately 44 percent of the money it lost to its former engineering firm. According to Manager Paul Stepanoff, municipal officials expect to receive between $85,000 and $86,000 recovered from Boucher & James, Inc. by the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

            Just under 100 municipal contractors will be reimbursed a specific amount as determined by the AG's office, according to Stepanoff, who confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the plan has been approved by the township's board of supervisors and its solicitor. Stepanoff said the payment to each will include the return of escrow fees from the township, which totals approximately $6,000.

            Three former employees of Boucher & James, Inc. are accused of overseeing a fraud scheme in which they allegedly repeatedly billed municipal and other clients the cost of fictitious time and for covering up their efforts, according to information provided by the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

            On Dec. 13, the office filed criminal charges against former owner and board member Ross Boucher, 58, of Venice, Fla., as well as former managing directors Mark Eisold, 57, of Hartsville, and David Jones, 63, of Pennlyn, in the Oreland Court of District Judge Katherine E. McGill.

            All three face 15 felony counts, including corrupt organizations, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, deceptive business practices, criminal use of a communications facility and related conspiracy charges filed in Springfield Township, according to information posted on a state judicial website.

            The defendants allegedly stole $193,288 from Richland Township, the third highest total listed in court records, over a 10-year period between 2009 and 2018. In December, the Office of the Attorney General entered into a settlement agreement with the engineering firm in which it 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, according to the statement released by Shapiro's office.

            Richland Township havs received no word from law enforcement officials on the balance of the money stolen from the municipality, according to Stepanoff. He said municipal officials will follow a payment schedule determined by law enforcement officials. The compensation to the township's contractors will range from $6 to a few thousand dollars.

            Additionally, the payments will include an additional 10 percent fee paid directly by the township. The manager described it as a way to compensate for the 10 percent fee, charged by municipal officials against contractors, on its escrow account.


 

 

 

 

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