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Former Ohio deputy treasurer pleads guilty to corruption charges

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A former deputy treasurer for the state of Ohio on Monday pleaded guilty to federal charges that he took kickbacks and helped a friend gain business as a securities broker for the state, prosecutors said.

Amer Ahmad, 38, who had gone on to become comptroller for the city of Chicago, resigned that post before being charged in August with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and money laundering stemming from his service in Ohio, prosecutors said.

Ahmad pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to conspiracy to commit money laundering, bribery and wire fraud, according to court documents. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors accused Ahmad of helping Douglas Hampton, a friend and securities broker, acquire lucrative business from the Ohio treasurer's office, where Ahmad worked from 2008 to 2010.

Hampton made $3.2 million in commissions from trades he did on the state's behalf after Ahmad had him added to the Ohio treasurer's approved broker list, a federal indictment said.

Prosecutors accused Hampton of giving Ahmad a $400,000 kickback, which was disguised as loans for a landscaping business owned by Ahmad and Joseph Chiavaroli, the indictment said.

Ahmad also funneled more than $123,000 to his close friend Mohammed Alo, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney and lobbyist, prosecutors said.

Hampton and Chiavaroli pleaded guilty in August. Alo pleaded guilty on Friday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Ahmad city comptroller shortly after Emanuel became mayor in 2011. The mayor's office said in August that it would conduct an audit of Ahmad's work.

A representative for the Chicago mayor's office could not be reached immediately for comment Monday on Ahmad's guilty plea.

A date for Ahmad's sentencing has yet to be set, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland and additional reporting and writing by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by David Bailey and David Gregorio)

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