|Ex-Ohio deputy treasurer indicted in bribery case|
|Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press|
|Friday, 16 August 2013 06:54|
A federal grand jury indicted Amer Ahmad, who served as Boyce's top deputy, and Mohammed Noure Alo, a Columbus attorney and bank lobbyist, on conspiracy and wire fraud charges. Ahmad also was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, bribery and making false statements.
Prosecutors allege that between 2009 and 2011, Ahmad, Alo, financial adviser Douglas E. Hampton and mortgage broker Joseph M. Chiavaroli conspired to use Ahmad's position to enrich themselves and their businesses by securing lucrative state business.
According to the indictment, Ahmad would funnel official broker services business from the state to Hampton in return for payments. Ahmad and Chiavaroli are accused of disguising those payments by passing them through a landscaping business in which they owned a stake. Additionally, Hampton is accused of directing more than $123,000 to Alo, who is Ahmad's close friend and business associate.
Prosecutors argue that as a result of the scheme, Hampton received more than $3 million in commissions for hundreds of trades conducted on behalf of the treasurer's office. They say Ahmad, Alo and Chiavaroli got more than $500,000 from Hampton.
The attorneys for Ahmad and Alo didn't immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.
Chiavaroli also was named in Thursday's indictment. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Hampton pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on Wednesday.
Ahmad's relationship to Alo had figured heavily in the 2010 race for state treasurer, which Boyce, a Democrat, lost to Josh Mandel, a Republican.
An ad by Mandel and Ohio Republican Party mailers questioned the relationship between the two, emphasizing the lobbyist's first name, Mohammed, and suggesting he and Boyce attended the same mosque, though Boyce is Christian. Alo and Ahmad are Muslim. Mandel is Jewish.
Boyce took a complaint on the matter to the Ohio Elections Commission, accusing Republicans of false statements and inflammatory Muslim references that led to threats against Ahmad, his wife and their children.
The commercial and mailers also focus on how the lobbyist's wife was hired to work in Boyce's office, saying the job was advertised only at "their mosque."
Boyce was appointed to a seat in the Ohio House in 2012.
Associated Press Statehouse Correspondent Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
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