Former Wayne County Official Found Guilty of Falsifying Documents to Conceal Bribery Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 19, 2013|
Zayd Allebban, former Wayne County Director of Enterprise Applications, the office that does software application development for Wayne County, was found guilty today by a federal jury in Detroit on charges of falsifying documents with the intent to obstruct justice, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. The purpose of the falsified documents was to conceal a bribery/extortion scheme by Allebban’s friend and supervisor, Tahir Kazmi, former Wayne County Chief Information Officer.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The eight-day trial was conducted before United States District Judge Stephen J. Murphy. The jury deliberated for approximately a day and a half before reaching their verdict.
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 faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the two counts of falsifying documents.
A sentencing date will be set by Judge Murphy’s chambers.
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 February 22, 2013. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney McQuade said, “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 Special Agent in Charge Foley said, “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 United States Attorney Sheldon Light.