Ohio Lobbyist Pleads Guilty for Role in Kickback and Money Laundering Scheme
An Ohio attorney and lobbyist pleaded guilty today for his role in a bribery and money laundering scheme involving the Ohio Treasurer’s Office.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. D’Alessandro of the Southern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Kevin R. Cornelius of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division made the announcement.
Mohammed Noure Alo, 35, of Columbus, Ohio, appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson of the Southern District of Ohio and pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and sentencing will be set at a later date.
Alo is a partner and founding member of a Columbus-based law firm and became a registered lobbyist to the State of Ohio in 2010. Court records state that from approximately January 2009 through January 2011, Alo admitted he conspired with his close personal friend Amer Ahmad, 38, of Chicago, and others to use Ahmad’s role as deputy treasurer to direct official State of Ohio broker services business to Douglas E. Hampton, 39, a securities broker from Canton, Ohio, in return for payments from Hampton. Hampton funneled in excess of $123,000 to Alo. Ahmad and Joseph M. Chiavaroli, 33, of Chicago, concealed additional payments from Hampton by passing them through the accounts of a landscaping business in which Ahmad and Chiavaroli held ownership interests.
As a result of the scheme, Hampton received approximately $3.2 million in commissions for 360 trades on behalf of the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. Ahmad and his co-conspirators received in excess of $500,000 from Hampton. Both Hampton and Chiavaroli entered guilty pleas in August 2013.
Ahmad was indicted on Aug. 15, 2013, on charges of conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, federal program bribery, and false statements. He is scheduled for trial on March 3, 2014. A criminal indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Central Ohio Public Corruption Task Force, which includes special agents from the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas W. Squires of the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Eric L. Gibson of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.