|Ohio treasurer reviews work of predecessor's aide|
|Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent|
|Wednesday, 04 September 2013 06:17|
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state treasurer has ordered an internal review of all business former deputy state treasurer Amer Ahmad was involved in following Ahmad's indictment in a bribery scheme.
Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel said Tuesday the analysis seeks any additional evidence of alleged fraud by Ahmad, a top deputy to Mandel's Democratic predecessor Kevin Boyce who later served as Chicago's comptroller.
"So we're taking that very seriously," Mandel told reporters after a financial literacy event.
Mandel said the review will also attempt to quantify any loss of tax dollars from the alleged acts.
"From the dollar amounts that were included in the indictment, you could do the math," he said. "I think one could make the argument that money that was used in the kickback scheme is tax money."
Prosecutors allege Ahmad and others conspired to use Ahmad's position to enrich themselves and their businesses by steering lucrative state business between 2009 and 2011 to a participant in the alleged scheme, who then kicked back more than $500,000 to Ahmad and two of the other individuals charged.
The 38-year-old Ahmad, who was indicted Aug 16., has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including money laundering, wire fraud and bribery. A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with his attorney, W. Kelly Johnson.
Mandel said he had been aware of the probe into Ahmad's activities virtually since the day he took office in January 2011.
He said it is not clear that any additional allegations would emerge after checking into all the policies and transactions that Ahmad touched.
"I don't have any information to my knowledge that there's more. I mean, there could be," he said.
Mandel said he expects to eventually hire a third party to aid his office's effort.
"The problem always is cost, because these were bad and illegal decisions that a previous administration made and it's unfortunate that the taxpayers will be paying for it now," he said. "I do, though, think it's the right thing to hire some type of independent party to come and take a look at it."
Boyce, now a state representative, has expressed shock at the extent of the bribery scheme that federal prosecutors allege against Ahmad.
After an internal legal memo released by the Treasurer's Office showed the probe began before Boyce left office, and before he had recommended Ahmad for the job in Chicago, Boyce said he would allow the criminal justice process to answer all questions.
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