- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A co-defendant of a former Ohio deputy treasurer was sentenced Wednesday to a four-year federal prison term for his role in a $500,000 bribery scheme, the first sentence to be imposed in the case.

Mohammed Noure Alo, a Columbus lawyer, lobbyist, and a friend of ex-deputy treasurer Amer Ahmad, pleaded guilty earlier this year after the government said he and other defendants used Ahmad’s position to secure lucrative state contracts and enrich themselves and their businesses.

Ahmad is under arrest in Pakistan, where authorities say he fled to avoid sentencing. He served under two Democratic state treasurers in Ohio before going to work for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Alo’s role in the scheme - whether a minor player or a middleman - was debated in court before his sentencing. His 48-month term pronounced by federal Judge Michael Watson represented the shortest amount of time sought by prosecutors, but was twice what Alo’s lawyer requested. Alo also must serve three years’ probation upon his release.

The judge delayed Alo’s sentencing last week to weigh new arguments over how much conspiracy-related money Alo should be held liable for as the court calculated his time behind bars.



Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Squires argued the amount should be $3.2 million. Squires said that was the amount earned by co-defendant Douglas Hampton, a Canton-based financial adviser, during the time Alo was involved in the scheme.

Alo’s lawyer, David Winters, said the amount should be $123,623, the figure deposited into Alo’s bank account to be given to Ahmad.

The judge on Wednesday set a sentence that accepted the government’s figure, and further ordered Alo to repay the $123,623 and undergo drug and alcohol counseling.

Prosecutors allege Ahmad, Alo, Hampton, and mortgage broker Joseph Chiavaroli engaged in the scheme between 2009 and January 2011. They say Ahmad, Alo and Chiavaroli accepted payments from Hampton in exchange for Hampton receiving government brokerage services business; the payments were then hidden in the accounts of a landscaping business in which Ahmad and Chiavaroli had ownership interests.

Hampton is to be sentenced Thursday. Chiavaroli’s sentencing has been reset for Dec. 1. Ahmad was previously scheduled to be sentenced in absentia but the judge later canceled those plans.

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