- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A former deputy treasurer was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for his role as lead conspirator in a kickback scheme at the state treasurer’s office.

Amer Ahmad pleaded guilty last year in federal court to bribery and conspiracy charges, though he fled to Pakistan to avoid punishment.

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. He remains jailed there on immigration violations and was sentenced Monday in absentia.

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 Chicago 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.

Chiavaroli’s attorney had argued for home confinement but said she’s pleased the judge recognized that her client was the “least culpable” defendant in the case.

Alo and Hampton were sentenced last month.

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