Former Wayne County Official Sentenced

The former chief information officer of the Wayne County, Michigan, government has been sentenced to 57 months in prison for taking $70,000 in bribes from a businessman who had millions of dollars in contracts with Wayne County.

During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III, Tahir Kazmi, 49, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, a $15,000 fine, and a term of supervised release based on his plea of guilty to accepting bribes. Kazmi, a political appointee in the Wayne County government, had accepted cash; trips to Hawaii, Turkey, and Florida; and other things of value totaling $70,000 between 2009 and 2011 from a county IT contractor who was overseen by Kazmi. After Kazmi learned that the FBI was investigating Wayne County corruption, Kazmi engaged in a conspiracy with Wayne County appointee Zayd Allebban in an effort to obstruct justice and to cover up the bribes received by Kazmi.

In the investigation of corruption in the Wayne County government, others have been convicted of either corruption or obstructing the investigation. Defendant Zayd Allebban was sentenced to 41 months in prison on September 6, 2013. Defendant David Edwards, Kazmi’s deputy chief information officer, was sentenced to 12 months in prison on September 27, 2013. Two other convicted defendants are Michael Grundy and Keith Griffin.

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said, “The court’s sentence sends a strong message that public officials who use their positions of trust to personally profit will be punished. Public officials should serve the interests of the people, not their own interests.”

“Government officials who breach the public trust for their own selfish purposes, and in this instance conspire with others in an attempt to cover up their criminal activity, will continue to be pursued aggressively and brought to justice,” said Paul M. Abbate, special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit field office. “The sentence sends another message that public servants are entrusted to serve the public, not themselves.”

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