National Security

Two DC men charged with impersonating attorneys, several Secret Service agents furloughed

WASHINGTON – The FBI on Wednesday arrested two men living in southeastern Washington, D.C., accusing them of impersonating federal agents as a way to woo the U.S. defense and law enforcement communities.

Court documents say that beginning in February 2020, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, posed as federal agents and convinced real government officials that their employment was they are legal.

Some of those they accused of cheating were Secret Service agents assigned to the White House, including one being the first lady. By Jill Biden protection details.

As a result, four Secret Service The FBI said in a filing with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. It is not clear if the person detailed for the first lady is one of those being granted leave.

Image: Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents prepare to arrest alleged immigration violators in Fresh Mark, Salem, Ohio, on June 19, 2018.US Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Getty Images

NBC News was unable to identify attorneys for the two men. Both are in custody pending their initial appearances on Thursday in DC federal district court.

In a statement Thursday morning, the Secret Service said, “All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and have limited access to Secret Service facilities, equipment and systems. . The Secret Service adheres to the highest standards of professional conduct and standards and will continue to work actively with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. ”

Both men pretended to work as special agents in Department of Homeland Security, the FBI alleges. The criminal complaint says the couple even obtained badges and firearms, including handguns and assault rifles, the kind used by federal law enforcement agencies. .

According to the FBI, Taherzadeh owns several apartments in a building in the DC area where many law enforcement officers live. The lawsuit alleges that Taherzadeh provided members of the Secret Service and a DHS employee with free rental apartments, worth more than $40,000 in annual rent per unit, as well as iPhones and systems. surveillance, drones, flat-screen TVs, generators, law enforcement supplies and a storage case for an assault rifle. The documents also say Taherzadeh recommended agents use what they said was an “official government vehicle” and suggested buying a $2,000 assault rifle to an agent assigned to details. guard of first lady Jill Biden.

As part of the alleged scheme, the men even recruited one to be “a DHS employee” and “to serve on their task force.” The complaint said it “required ‘candidate’ to be shot with an Airsoft rifle to assess their pain tolerance and response. After being shot, the candidate was informed that their recruitment was in progress. conducted.”

The two were arrested after a U.S. Postal Service inspector was at the building investigating an attack allegedly involving a USPS employee, the FBI said. Inspector is informed that Taherzadeh and Ali witnessed the incident.

They allegedly told inspectors they were investigators with the “U.S. Special Police Investigations Unit,” which one of them said was part of the DHS, according to the FBI. The complaint says Taherzadeh owns a company called “United Special Police,” which its website advertises as a private security and investigation agency, not an actual law enforcement agency. . The men claimed to have participated in clandestine gang-related investigations, as well as conducting investigations related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the lawsuit said.

The Postal Service inspector referred his findings about these men to the DHS Inspector General’s Office, which then forwarded the information to the FBI.

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