Columbus Sheikh Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Covid Funds


Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed, 43, pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center (ITMIC) in Columbus.

The former director of a Columbus Islamic center pleaded guilty in court Thursday to embezzling funds from the mosque, defrauding public housing and filing for fraudulent COVID assistance funds, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker’s office.

Court documents say, Ahmed A. Sh. Ahmed, 43, was employed as the director for the Ibn Taymiyah Masjid and Islamic Center (ITMIC) on Mock Road in northeast Columbus from 2009 to 2019. Ahmed admitted to committing wire fraud and making a false statement in U.S. District Court.

A release says Ahmed used his position as director to embezzle money from the religious organization by writing unauthorized checks from ITMIC’s bank accounts to himself. He is accused of using thousands of dollars to put toward the purchase of a new car and fund his personal credit card bill.

Between 2015 and 2018, Ahmed increased the amount he embezzled each year. In total, he stole approximately $49,400 in checks, according to the district attorney’s office.

Additionally, Ahmed is accused of claiming his annual income was $18,000 and failing to report household assets. A release states that Ahmed and his wife brought in more than $235,000 into their bank accounts from 2014 to 2018.

Ahmed reportedly defrauded the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s housing choice voucher, submitting false claims to obtain housing subsidies. A release says he also fraudulently applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance nine times while he was generating $4,000 by posting approximately 126 YouTube videos to his channel.

According to the district attorney’s office, part of Ahmed’s plea will have him pay more than $37,400 in restitution to the Islamic Center.



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