Federal fugitive Amer Ahmad, the mastermind behind a bribery and kickback scheme in the Ohio treasurer’s office, has been captured in Pakistan, according to a report by a Chicago-area television station that quoted unnamed law enforcement sources.
Ahmad’s criminal defense attorney Karl Schneider said he “can’t confirm any of the details yet” — not even the report that his client is being detained in Pakistan.
According to ABC Channel 7 in Chicago, “Where in Pakistan Ahmad was detained and how the arrest came to be was unclear on Tuesday evening. Federal law enforcement officials in Columbus, Ohio are said to be in the very early stages of extradition although U.S. Justice Dept. personnel there would not provide any details.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Ahmad, 39, of Chicago, on Friday, less than 24 hours after his wife, Samar Kaukab Ahmad, petitioned a Cook County court for a protective order. She reported that her husband asked her to get him a fake birth certificate from Pakistan so that he could get a bogus passport.
Ahmad surrendered his U.S. passport. He grew up in Canton and is the son of Pakistani immigrants.
Ahmad, who was indicted in August and pleaded guilty in December, was free on bond awaiting sentencing. When it appeared Ahmad was skipping bond, an arrest warrant was issued.
His wife told Cook County authorities that she feared he would kidnap their three children, ages 2, 6 and 7, and take them to Pakistan. She said her husband has attempted suicide and has been under psychiatric care.
Samar Kaukab Ahmad and her parents could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Ahmad, who holds degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University, was a rising star in Democratic power circles.
Former Ohio Attorney General and Treasurer Richard Cordray, who now serves in the Obama administration, hired Ahmad into the treasurer’s office in May 2008. When Democrat Kevin Boyce took over, he promoted Ahmad to deputy treasurer. Once Boyce lost election to Republican Josh Mandel in November 2010, Ahmad moved to be comptroller of the city of Chicago for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, president Barack Obama’s former chief of staff.
But at the end of the Boyce administration, FBI agents opened an investigation and subpoenaed documents from the Ohio treasurer’s office. Initially they were looking at ties between Ahmad and immigration attorney Noure Alo, who was hired as a lobbyist for Boston-based State Street Bank. Alo had no other lobbying experience or clients and State Street Bank was up for a big contract with the treasurer’s office.
While looking at that relationship, federal authorities uncovered a kickback scheme. Ahmad authored a new investment policy for the office and steered work to a high school friend, Doug Hampton of Hampton Capital Management. Hampton made $3.2 million in commissions off the work and kicked back $523,000 to Ahmad, Alo and a third man, Joseph Chiavaroli. All four have pleaded guilty but have yet to be sentenced.
On the kickback charges, Ahmad is facing up to 15 years in prison, $500,000 in fines, plus $3.2 million in restitution.
Our Columbus Bureau has been following the Amer Ahmad case from the beginning. Here’s a look at some our our past coverage: