CINCINNATI – A federal grand jury has charged a Cincinnati city councilman and his business partner in a conspiracy involving honest services wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion by a government official and money laundering.
Jeffrey Pastor, 36, of Cincinnati, allegedly solicited and received $55,000 in bribes between August 2018 and February 2019 in exchange for promised official action related to projects before the City of Cincinnati.
Pastor’s business partner, Tyran Marshall, 35, of Cincinnati, allegedly acted as a middleman in receiving bribes payments.
For example, according to the 10-count indictment that was returned on Nov. 4 and unsealed today, in September 2018, Pastor and Marshall flew to Miami, Fla. on a private plane to meet with investors regarding a real estate development project. Pastor never paid for or disclosed the trip. During the trip, Pastor allegedly explained he would ensure favorable action on behalf of the city for the project and could receive money through Marshall’s non-profit entity Ummah Strength, LLC (which had been incorporated two weeks prior). Pastor discussed “compensation” and agreed to accept $15,000 for helping with the project. He said the purpose of Marshall’s entity was to “sanitize” the money. Pastor accepted $15,000 in cash about a week later.
Pastor and Marshall allegedly solicited and received another $20,000 in October and November 2018. They allegedly received two $10,000 payments in exchange for Pastor’s official city action benefitting a second project.
From January 2019 through early March 2019, Pastor allegedly continued to attempt to secure more bribe money for help on a city project.
Pastor and Marshall each appeared in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman.
Pastor is charged with each of the 10 counts in the indictment: one count of conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison), two counts of honest services wire fraud (up to 20 years), three counts of bribery (up to 10 years), three counts of attempted extortion by a government official (up to 20 years) and one count of money laundering (up to 20 years).
Marshall is charged with four crimes: one count of conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud (up to 20 years in prison), one count of bribery (up to 10 years), one count of attempted extortion (up to 20 years) and one count of money laundering (up to 20 years).
In a statement released Tuesday, Hamilton County GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou also called for Pastor’s resignation. He said: “The Hamilton County Republican Party has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. While Mr. Pastor is afforded the presumption of innocence and due process, he is not entitled to continue working for the citizens of Cincinnati as he sorts through whatever charges may be coming. Jeff should resign his position on City Council and make his family and his legal defense a top priority.”
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the charges. Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter and Assistant United States Attorney Matthew C. Singer are representing the United States in this case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.