Man accused of impersonating U.S. agent to plead guilty, court filing says

Jul 22, 2022

By Sarah N. Lynch and Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A man accused of posing as an agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and lavishing gifts on the Secret Service will plead guilty, according to a court filing on Friday.

Arian “Ari” Taherzadeh, 40, was arrested in April and had earlier pleaded not guilty in a virtual hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

He will plead guilty at a hearing on Aug. 1, according to the latest filing, which said a change of plea hearing was set for Aug. 1 “upon request of the parties.”

Another man, Haider Ali, 35, was also arrested in April for the same accusations.

Taherzadeh and Ali, 35, were arrested two days after four Secret Service agents were placed on leave for allegedly accepting gifts including iPhones and rent-free apartments at a luxury complex in Washington.

In a search of apartments leased under the name of Taherzadeh’s company, U.S. Special Police LLC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uncovered a swath of evidence including firearms, surveillance equipment, hard drives, law enforcement gear and equipment for making identity cards.

In addition to facing charges for impersonating federal agents, the two men were also charged with the unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

The FBI had said that Taherzadeh and Ali posed not only as agents with the Department of Homeland Security, but also impersonated employees from the Justice Department and the Office of Personnel Management.

They also offered gifts or favors to employees of other federal agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Defense, the agency said.

Court records show that Taherzadeh racked up more than $1 million in debt for unpaid rent from apartment complexes, luxury cars, VIP box seats at Capital One Arena, and a sponsorship deal with the company that owns several of Washington’s professional sports teams.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

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