- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The extent of a conspiracy defendant’s role in a state treasurer’s office bribery scheme led a judge on Thursday to delay sentencing for three men who previously pleaded guilty.

The government says the men used the position of former Ohio Deputy Treasurer Amer Ahmad to enrich themselves and their businesses by securing lucrative state business.

The men had been scheduled for sentencing Thursday, but federal judge Michael Watson in Columbus delayed the procedure after questions arose about defendant Mohammed Noure Alo’s participation in the plot.

At issue is how much conspiracy-related money Alo should be liable for when Watson calculates time behind bars. Watson said he needed more time to review several documents prosecutors submitted Thursday.

Doug Squires, an assistant U.S. attorney, says the amount should be $3.2 million, or the amount earned by Hampton.

Alo should be responsible for that amount “because that is what the scheme generated while Alo was an essential conspirator,” Squires said in a court filing earlier this year.

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, which Alo considered “a one time shot.”

“Nothing more was foreseen, reasonably foreseen, or even imaginable to Noure Alo,” Winters said in a filing last month.

The prosecution and defense also are arguing over whether Alo should be considered a minor player or a conspiracy middleman.

Watson rescheduled sentencing for Alo and co-conspirator Joseph Chiavaroli to Nov. 12, and Nov. 13 for Douglas Hampton.

Court records allege a $500,000 bribery scheme took place between 2009 and January 2011 involving Ahmad, Alo, Hampton (a Canton-based financial adviser) and Chiavaroli, a mortage broker.

Prosecutors say Ahmad and friends and associates, including Alo, accepted payments from Hampton in exchange for Hampton receiving government brokerage services business.

Prosecutors allege Ahmad and his associates hid Hampton’s payments using the accounts of a landscaping business in which Ahmad and Chiavaroli had ownership interests.

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