Saturday, September 07, 2013

Former Wayne County official sentenced to prison

A former Wayne County official was sentenced to more than three years in prison for obstructing justice in the investigation of a bribery and extortion scheme, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced yesterday afternoon. She was joined in this announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge John Robert Shoup for the Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Zayd Allebban, former Wayne County Director of Enterprise Applications, the office that does software application development for Wayne County, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. Allebban was found guilty at trial in February by a federal jury in Detroit on charges of falsifying documents with the intent to obstruct justice. The purpose of the falsified documents was to conceal a bribery and extortion scheme involving Allebban’s friend and supervisor, Tahir Kazmi, former Wayne County chief information officer.

The evidence presented at trial established that Allebban and Kazmi sought to obstruct justice by seeking to persuade a private contractor to provide false information to the FBI and to a federal grand jury investigating corruption in the Wayne County government. Allebban and Kazmi sought to conceal the fact that the contractor had given Kazmi tens of thousands of dollars in cash and trips to Hawaii, Turkey, and Florida. Allebban was found guilty of falsifying documents that indicated that all payments from the contractor had been repaid by Kazmi, prior to the initiation of the grand jury investigation, with the intent to obstruct the grand jury and FBI investigation. Allebban, as part of the scheme, also delivered $24,000 in cash to the private contractor in an effort to induce the contractor to tell the FBI that the contractor had never given anything to Kazmi.

Allebban was found not guilty on separate charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice by means of false documents. Tahir Kazmi pleaded guilty on July 26, 2012, to accepting a bribe and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13, 2013. He faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney McQuade said in a prepared statement, “Public officials who illegally enrich themselves will be detected and brought to justice. Efforts to conceal their crimes will bring additional charges and higher penalties.”

FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Shoup added, “The citizens of Wayne County deserve honest government and leaders committed to serving the needs of taxpayers. This verdict should serve as a reminder that the FBI-led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force will remain vigilant and dedicated to stopping these illegal acts.”

The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and Detroit-Area Public Corruption Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheldon Light.
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