In a recent case of financial fraud, the former director of an Islamic center in Ohio has been sentenced to prison for embezzling funds and committing fraud. Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed, the former director of the Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, submitting a false statement, and making a false statement in October 2022. He was sentenced to four months in prison, followed by four months in a halfway house and 12 months of home confinement. Ahmed was found to have written unauthorized checks to himself from the center’s accounts, increasing the amount embezzled each year from 2015 to 2018. He also defrauded a housing choice voucher program and fraudulently applied for pandemic unemployment assistance. Ahmed will be required to pay more than $82,000 in restitution as part of his sentence. This case highlights the importance of safeguarding taxpayer-funded programs and resources intended to benefit vulnerable communities.
Former Islamic center director sentenced for embezzling funds
The former director of the Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center, Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed, has been sentenced to prison for four months, followed by four months in a halfway house and 12 months of home confinement. Ahmed pleaded guilty to wire fraud, submitting a false statement, and making a false statement as part of his three separate schemes to defraud. In addition, Ahmed has been ordered to pay over $82,000 in restitution.
Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed held the position of director at the Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center (ITMIC) on Mock Road in Columbus for over a decade. As the director, Ahmed was entrusted with managing the organization’s finances and resources.
Charges and guilty plea
Ahmed’s involvement in the fraudulent activities came to light when he was charged with wire fraud, submitting a false statement, and making a false statement. These charges were a result of three separate schemes to defraud, including embezzlement from the Islamic center, fraudulent claims for housing subsidies, and a fraudulent application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
In October 2022, Ahmed pleaded guilty to these charges, acknowledging his involvement in these illegal activities.
As part of his sentence, Ahmed has been ordered to serve four months in prison, followed by four months in a halfway house, and 12 months of home confinement. The length of the prison sentence reflects the severity of Ahmed’s crimes and aims to deter others from engaging in similar fraudulent activities.
The sentencing hearing was presided over by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., who carefully considered all aspects of the case before delivering the final verdict.
Ahmed has also been ordered to pay over $82,000 in restitution as part of the sentence. This restitution amount reflects the full extent of the financial harm caused by Ahmed’s fraudulent activities. It is intended to compensate the Islamic center and other victims affected by Ahmed’s schemes.
The restitution process will ensure that the funds are returned to the rightful owners and may involve the seizure of Ahmed’s assets to cover the financial obligations.
Embezzlement from the Islamic center
Ahmed’s embezzlement scheme involved writing unauthorized checks to himself from the accounts of the Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center. This misuse of funds occurred throughout Ahmed’s tenure as director, spanning from at least 2009 until March 2019.
The embezzled amounts increased each year, with Ahmed writing himself $4,500 in checks in 2015, approximately $11,000 in checks in 2016, $12,900 in checks in 2017, and approximately $21,000 in checks in 2018. Ahmed used the embezzled funds for personal expenses, including paying his credit card bills and purchasing a vehicle.
Fraudulent claims for housing subsidies
In addition to embezzling funds from the Islamic center, Ahmed submitted false claims to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s housing choice voucher program. These false claims allowed Ahmed to obtain housing subsidies he did not qualify for based on his true income and assets.
Ahmed misrepresented his personal income as $18,000 annually and failed to report any household assets. However, investigations revealed that Ahmed and his wife deposited more than $235,000 into their bank accounts from 2014 to 2018.
Fraudulent application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Further adding to his fraudulent activities, Ahmed made multiple false claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from August to October 2020. During this time, Ahmed also generated revenue by producing and posting YouTube videos, earning at least $4,000.
Revenue from YouTube channel
As part of Ahmed’s fraudulent activities, he utilized a YouTube channel to generate revenue. By producing and posting approximately 126 videos, Ahmed was able to earn at least $4,000. This revenue contributed to his overall financial gain from illegal activities.
Announcement of sentence
The sentencing of Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed was announced by Kenneth L. Parker, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, J. William Rivers, the Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Cincinnati division, and Shawn Rice, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, Mid-Atlantic Region.
This announcement reflects the commitment of the respective law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute individuals who engage in fraud and embezzlement schemes.
In conclusion, the sentencing of Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed serves as a reminder of the consequences individuals face when they violate the law and betray the trust placed in them. The prison sentence, halfway house placement, and home confinement aim to hold Ahmed accountable for his actions and discourage others from engaging in similar fraudulent activities. The restitution ordered ensures that the victims are compensated for their financial losses, and the announcement of the sentence affirms the commitment of law enforcement agencies to combating financial fraud.