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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 22, 2017

Akron convenience store operator sentenced to more than two years in prison for bribing then-Summit County councilwoman

A North Canton man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for paying bribes to a Summit County councilwoman, said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.

Omar Abdelqader, 50, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, violating the Hobbs Act, obstruction of justice and making false statements to law enforcement.

Abdelqader was affiliated with several convenience stores and other businesses in the Akron area, including the Bi-Rite on Diagnonal Road. Then-Summit County Councilwoman Tamela Lee solicited and accepted things from Abdelqader, including money, loans, campaign contributions, home improvements, home maintenance and consumer goods. These were provided directly by Abdelqader, or through Bi-Rite, according to court documents and testimony

In return, Lee performed and promised to perform official acts for Abdelqader and other businesses in Akron for which he served as a conduit to Lee. These actions included helping Abdelqader and his associates navigate government bureaucracy, achieve favorable outcomes in judicial and administrative proceedings and obtain streamlined access to information, according to court documents and testimony.

Lee was convicted following a jury trial of conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, violating the Hobbs Act, obstruction of justice and making false statements to law enforcement. Her sentencing is pending.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Barr and Adam Hollingsworth following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Akron Police Department.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated May 22, 2017