COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former Chicago comptroller Amer Ahmad was sentenced in absentia Monday to 15 years in prison for his role as lead conspirator in a kickback scheme at the state treasurer’s office in Ohio.
Ahmad pleaded guilty last year in federal court to bribery and conspiracy charges, but he later fled to Pakistan to avoid punishment. He remains jailed there on immigration violations.
Co-defendant Joseph Chiavaroli was also sentenced Monday to an 18-month prison term. Chiavaroli, a mortgage broker from Chicago, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Ahmad was arrested in Pakistan in April holding a forged Mexican passport, a fraudulent Pakistani birth certificate, a false Pakistani visa and $175,000, authorities said. A judge in Pakistan has recommended that he be extradited back to the United States, but no final decision has been made.
Ahmad’s attorney in Ohio, Karl Schneider, said he had sought a 10-year sentence for his client. He said Ahmad would begin serving his time if or when he returns to the United States. “It’s a sad situation all-around,” he said.
Ahmad worked for two Democratic treasurers in Ohio, then for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Court records indicate that between 2009 and January 2011, Ahmad, friend Mohammed Noure Alo, Canton-based financial adviser Douglas E. Hampton and Chiavaroli conspired to use Ahmad’s position at the state treasurer’s office to enrich themselves and their businesses by securing lucrative state business.
Prosecutors say Ahmad and Chiavaroli hid such payments using the accounts of a landscaping business in which the two had ownership interests.
Alo and Hampton were sentenced last month.