CHICAGO (STMW) — Federal prosecutors say Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former city comptroller Amer Ahmad should be sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Ahmad—who skipped bail and fled to Pakistan in April after pleading guilty to a kickback scheme he ran while he was Ohio’s deputy state treasurer—deserves the hefty sentence for “a remarkable abuse of office,” the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbus, Ohio wrote in a sentencing memo filed late Thursday.
The 39-year-old admitted in December last year that he used his position in Ohio to steer $3.2 million in securities and brokerage work to a high school classmate who kicked back $500,000 to Ahmad.
Though the crimes happened before Ahmad was hired by Emanuel in 2011, and an investigation commissioned by City Hall found no evidence that Ahmad committed any crimes in Chicago, the case was a major embarrassment for the mayor.
That embarrassment was compounded when Ahmad fled to Pakistan, and was later caught by Pakistani authorities with a diary in which he gushed about how he’d obtained fake travel documents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on foot.
Though Ahmad hasn’t been charged with fleeing, prosecutors in August revealed they intended to go ahead with his sentencing in his absence, citing the difficulties of extraditing him from Pakistani custody.
U.S. District Judge Michael Watson agreed and set Ahmad’s sentencing for November. But last week a Pakistani judge recommended Ahmad be the first prisoner extradited from Pakistan to the U.S. since 2006, holding out hope that Ahmad cold soon be returned.
Ahmad’s attorney has asked for the sentencing hearing to be delayed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Squires, though, is urging Watsin to hold the Ahmad’s decision to go on the run against him. He wrote Thursday that Ahmad was the “ringleader of a complex bribery scheme… to line his own pockets.”
The “bribe payments shut out honest, qualified competing brokers who would have prioritized the financial interest of Ohio,” he added.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)