Federal authorities acknowledged in court filings Thursday that it is uncertain when, or if, the Pakistani government will ever extradite Ohio’s former deputy state treasurer, Amer Ahmad, to be sentenced for his mastermind role in a complex bribery and kickback scheme.
The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson to sentence Ahmad in absentia. Ahmad pleaded guilty on Dec. 23 to bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges but before sentencing, he fled the country in April 22.
U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have asked Pakistan to return Ahmad but they noted that the last extradition to the U.S. occurred in June 2006 — 11 years after that request was made.
“Further, there are currently approximately ten extradition requests pending with Pakistan, with the oldest pending request submitted nine years ago. Given this history, there is substantial uncertainty as to when, if ever, Ahmad will be returned to the United States,” the U.S. Attorney’s office submitted Thursday.
Typically, defendants are required to be present at sentencing unless they voluntarily waive that right. Federal authorities are arguing that Ahmad waived that right when he took off to Pakistan by way of Mexico, carrying fake travel documents and $175,000 in cash.
Pakistani authorities arrested Ahmad on April 28 in Lahore when he attempted to enter the country using a bogus visa, birth certificate and passport. He has been held since then in Pakistan.
Ahmad pleaded guilty in December to bribery and conspiracy charges for his role steering treasurer’s office trades to a high school friend who made $3.2 million in commissions and then kicked back $523,000 to Ahmad and two co-conspirators. Ahmad had been free on a no-cash bond and living in Chicago while he awaited sentencing. As part of his plea deal, Ahmad agreed to pay $3.2 million in restitution.
The co-conspirators — immigration attorney M. Noure Alo, investment trader Doug Hampton and small business owner Joseph Chiavaroli — are awaiting sentencing in the case.
Ahmad, 39, was born in Akron to Pakistani nationals. He grew up in Canton and earned degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University. He worked in the financial markets before being hired as chief financial officer in the Ohio treasurer’s office by then state Treasurer Richard Cordray, a Democrat. Later, Democrat Kevin Boyce kept Ahmad in his administration and promoted him.
After Boyce lost the 2010 election to Republican Josh Mandel, Ahmad moved to be city comptroller for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
He is married to Samar Kaukab Ahmad and the couple has three young children.
By Laura A. Bischoff - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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