Convicted former Rahm aide on lam, sought fake passport
BY CHRIS FUSCO AND DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporters April 25, 2014 9:36AM
Former Chicago Comptroller Amer Ahmad. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Updated: May 27, 2014 6:09AM
Facing up to 15 years in prison and stripped of his U.S. passport, Amer Ahmad — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former city comptroller — ordered his wife this week “to get him a fake birth certificate from Pakistan for a passport,” according to court records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Now, Ahmad is on the lam, and a judge issued a warrant Friday for his arrest.
“I am very concerned that he will kidnap our children and take them to Pakistan,” Ahmad’s wife, Samar Ahmad, wrote Thursday in seeking an emergency order of protection against her husband. “He believes that [he] is not guilty and deserves a life with the children and repeatedly gets very angry if I say anything.”
A Cook County judge granted her request Thursday afternoon.
Then, Friday morning in Ohio, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ordered authorities to track down and arrest Ahmad for violating the terms of his release on bail pending his sentencing.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is conducting the search for Mr. Ahmad,” said Fred Alverson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Columbus, Ohio.
Ahmad — who has continued to live in Chicago since resigning from his $165,000-a-year City Hall post last summer — pleaded guilty in December to being part of a large kickback and money-laundering scheme when he was Ohio’s deputy state treasurer.
The crimes occurred before Ahmad joined Emanuel’s administration in April 2011. An outside investigation that City Hall commissioned to review Ahmad’s conduct revealed no criminal wrongdoing by Ahmad or his staff. That investigation cost Chicago taxpayers $825,000.
In recent months, Ahmad, 39, had become physically and verbally abusive toward his wife and three children, ages 7, 6 and 2, and had been undergoing psychiatric treament, his wife wrote in her petition for the order of protection.
“When I tried to get my daughter away from him, he grabbed me by the hair and threw me down on the ground and pushed me under my dresser,” she wrote.
She also said he “has tried to run me and my father over with a car.”
Samar Ahmad said her husband asked her to get a fake birth certificate from Pakistan “on or around April 23.”
“When I refused, he became irate,” she wrote.
Ahmad was raised in Ohio by Pakistani immigrant parents.
After his guilty plea, Ahmad remained free on bail but surrendered his passport. Though his sentencing date hasn’t been set, he faces up to 15 years in prison and has agreed to pay $3.2 million in restitution.
Ahmad had been a rising star in the Emanuel administration before abruptly resigning last summer, saying he wanted to seek a job in the private sector.
An attorney for Ahmad filed court papers last month seeking more time to object to prosecutors’ pre-sentencing investigation of Ahmad.
“There are several issues and facts that need to be thoroughly reviewed and researched that . . . could have an effect on Ahmad’s ultimate sentence,” Ahmad lawyer Karl H. Schneider wrote.
Schneider could not be reached for comment Friday.
Ahmad pleaded guilty in December to federal conspiracy and bribery charges, admitting he used his Ohio government position to secure “lucrative state business” for Douglas Hampton — his high school classmate and financial adviser — “in exchange for payments” to himself and others.
In his plea agreement, Ahmad said Hampton made secret payments to him, and, as Ohio’s deputy treasurer, he steered state securities brokerage work to Hampton. Prosecutors said Ahmad and a business partner — Joseph M. Chiavaroli, also of Chicago — hid those payments by passing them through an Ohio landscaping company they owned.
Hampton also funneled cash to Mohammed Noure Alo, an attorney, lobbyist and close friend of Ahmad from Columbus. Altogether, Hampton got about $3.2 million in commissions for 360 trades on behalf of the Ohio state treasurer’s office. Ahmad and his co-conspirators — who have all pleaded guilty — got more than $500,000 from Hampton, according to prosecutors.
Contributing: Kim Janssen