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Published: 12/24/2013

Ex-deputy treasurer guilty in kickback

Ohio official took $3.2 million from financial adviser in ’09-10

BY KATHY LYNN GRAY
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS — Former state deputy treasurer Amer Ahmad pleaded guilty Monday to a $3.2 million kickback scheme that occurred while he was in office.

Ahmad, 39, now of Chicago, pleaded guilty to bribery and to conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, and money laundering, two of the eight counts against him.

Ahmad was indicted in August after the FBI’s Central Ohio Public Corruption Task Force found that he had accepted bribes in 2009 and 2010 from a financial adviser in exchange for state business.

Ahmad was Ohio’s deputy treasurer under Democrat Kevin L. Boyce, who was unseated in 2010 by Republican Josh Mandel.

Ahmad and his wife, Samar Kaukab Ahmad, would not comment after the hearing.

His attorney, Karl H. Schneider, said that his client had decided to plead guilty “in the best interests of his family.”

Three others involved in the scheme have pleaded guilty. None has been sentenced.

The most recent was Columbus attorney Mohammed Noure Alo, 35, who pleaded guilty on Friday to wire fraud.

Ahmad’s troubles might be just beginning.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas W. Squires said an investigation continues into questions about a contract that the state treasurer’s office had during Ahmad’s tenure with State Street Bank in Boston.

The bank hired Alo, an immigration lawyer, as its lobbyist shortly before it received $32 million in contracts from the treasurer’s office.

Mr. Squires would not elaborate on that investigation.

Ahmad signed a plea agreement on Sunday with the U.S. attorney’s office on the current charges. He agreed to pay restitution of $3.2 million.

He could be sentenced to 15 years in prison. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

As part of the Ohio conspiracy, Ahmad authorized financial adviser Douglas E. Hampton to conduct securities trades for the state that netted $3.2 million in revenue for Hampton’s company.

Hampton operated Hampton Capital Financial Management of Canton and was a high school friend of Ahmad.

According to the indictment, Hampton, 39, gave Ahmad kickbacks of $523,623, hiding them as payments to a company that Ahmad owned, and to another that Ahmad owned with mortgage broker Joseph M. Chiavaroli.

In August, Chiavaroli, 33, now of Chicago, pleaded guilty to money laundering, and Hampton pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ahmad in the bribery scheme.

In 2011, Ahmad became comptroller for the city of Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

He resigned in July.



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