A man who posed as a federal agent, linked to the Secret Service, pleads guilty

Washington— A Washington, DC man charged with participating in a multi-year program to impersonate a federal agent pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from the ruse and agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation, the Department of Justice announcement.

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, admitted to creating a private law enforcement and investigative service called the United States Special Police and using it to pose as a federal agent from the Department of Homeland Security , the Department of Justice, the Office of Personnel Management and other federal agencies, according to advocacy materials filed in federal district court in Washington.

As part of the scheme, which the Justice Department says began in December 2018 and ran through April 2022, Taherzadeh used his bogus affiliation with the federal government to recruit others into the police force. American Special and defrauding landlords of three luxury apartment complexes by securing leases and then failing to pay rent, according to court documents.

Federal prosecutors said Taherzadeh, co-defendant Haider Ali, and an unnamed individual also used a false affiliation with the Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. agencies to “fun” with members of the security community. law enforcement and defense forces, including by providing secret service employees. with gifts worth over $90,000.

Taherzadeh and Ali, 36, were arrested in April for conduct stemming from the scheme, and Ali pleaded not guilty. Taherzadeh Monday pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge and two violations of DC law: unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeder and voyeurism.

According to the plea documents, Taherzadeh and Ali told law enforcement that they were investigators or special agents of the US Special Police, although the entity is not affiliated with the US government or the district. of Columbia.

On several occasions, Taherzadeh and Ali allegedly tried to recruit people into a federal task force by posing as law enforcement and making up stories about their backgrounds as part of the scheme. Taherzadeh claimed he was a former Army Ranger, former U.S. Air Marshal, Homeland Security Special Agent and member of a multi-jurisdictional task force, according to plea documents.

An FBI affidavit filed in federal court includes photos Arian Taherzadeh sent to a witness in the case, showing Taherzadeh with police gear in his apartment, including holsters often used to carry firearms.

US Department of Justice

He also erroneously stated that he had worked on past cases involving child exploitation and undercover operations involving confidential informants. Federal prosecutors say Ali said he worked for the Department of Homeland Security or the Secret Service and was on special assignment at the White House. Ali also allegedly made a series of false claims about his background, including that he was involved in the arrest of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, that his family was “Middle Eastern royalty”, that he was a Calvin Klein model and a close relative headed Pakistan’s intelligence service.

To back up his claims and appear as a legitimate federal employee, Ali used photos of well-known government officials, which he obtained through his work as a driver with a car service, according to court documents.

As part of the scheme, the Justice Department said Taherzadeh and Ali were able to obtain leases for several apartments in three different complexes in Washington using US special police, law enforcement officials and supervisors. Federals invented. They defrauded the resorts of more than $800,000 in unpaid rent, fees and parking, according to filings.

On one occasion, at the Sonnet apartment building in northwest DC, Taherzadeh and another person pretended to be federal law enforcement and accessed the building’s CCTV to park in parking spaces. unauthorized places.

At another southeast DC resort, The Crossing, prosecutors said Taherzadeh had an unlicensed Glock handgun with a high-capacity ammo feeder, numerous cartridges, surveillance equipment, tactical equipment, clothing with police badges and equipment to open a door.

Similar to the Sonnet, Taherzadeh and Ali allegedly used their fake law enforcement personas to gain access to security footage at The Crossing, as well as to obtain parking spots. The spots were not only used for their personal cars, but were also given to members of the Secret Service for their personal use, prosecutors said.

At his apartment in The Crossing, Taherzadeh installed surveillance cameras outside and inside his unit, including his bedroom, which he used to record sexual activity with women, according to court documents. . He then showed explicit videos to third parties, federal prosecutors said.

Taherzadeh’s false identifications with the Secret Service began in the spring of 2020, according to plea documents, when he claimed to be a special agent in a Department of Homeland Security gang unit. He told a Secret Service special agent that he was part of a secret task force, according to court documents.

Federal prosecutors said Taherzadeh and Ali “attempted to ingratiate themselves with employees of the [Secret Service] because it provided them with cover and furthered their impersonation as a federal law enforcement officer.

In one instance, Taherzadeh gave the wife of a Secret Service employee what he claimed was a government vehicle, and the worker and his wife a generator and a survival backpack. He gave another a penthouse apartment to live rent-free for a year, and a third Secret Service employee with a penthouse apartment, a drone, a gun locker, and a Pelican case.

Secret Service members also received iPhones, surveillance systems, a flat-screen TV and a computer monitor from Taherzadeh, Ali and the unnamed third person as part of their effort to get close to them, the report said. said federal prosecutors. They also offered to buy an assault rifle for a retail agent assigned to the first lady’s Secret Service, Dr. Jill Biden, the court heard. recordings.

According to the plea documents, the gifts were given as part of Taherzadeh’s friendship with the three Secret Service employees and “deepened their relationship.”

Taherzadeh’s sentencing date has not been set, although he is due to appear in court again in November. Four Secret Service employees – two are agents and two are uniformed divisional officers – were also suspended in April after being tricked into the scheme by Taherzadeh and Ali.

Alejandro L. Myatt