US: Former veteran California FBI agent convicted of bribery

He accepted 'cash, checks, private jet flights, a Ducati motorcycle, hotel stays, escorts, meals, and other items of value', prosecutors say



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By AP

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 6:56 AM

On Tuesday, a former FBI agent in Northern California — who handled national security issues — was convicted of accepting at least $150,000 in gifts and cash bribes to provide confidential information to a man with ties to organised crime, prosecutors said.

Babak Broumand, 56, of Lafayette, was found guilty in Los Angeles of conspiracy, bribery of a public official and monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

He could face 15 to 45 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in January.

Broumand, who joined the FBI in 1999, worked until 2018 in the bureau's San Francisco office, where he was responsible for national security investigations, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that from 2015 to 2018, Broumand accepted “cash, checks, private jet flights, a Ducati motorcycle, hotel stays, escorts, meals, and other items of value", in return for searching law enforcement databases to help a self-proclaimed lawyer and his criminal associates learn if they were under investigation, and avoid prosecution.

Court documents refer to the lawyer only as “ES", but his name was Edgar Sargsyan, who earlier pleaded guilty to bribing Broumand and another federal agent and testified at his trial.

The two men were introduced at a Beverly Hills cigar club.

Sargsyan has admitted making a fortune by stealing identities, making credit card charges and taking out bank loans in their names, and while he falsely claimed to be an attorney, he acknowledged actually paying a friend to take the bar exam under his name, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“To conceal the nature of their corrupt relationship, Broumand made it falsely appear that ES was working as an FBI source", and wrote false reports stating he was making legitimate database queries, according to the Department of Justice.

One report involved Levon Termendzhyan, whom prosecutors described as an Armenian organised crime figure for whom Sargsyan had worked.

Termendzhyan was convicted in 2020 in a Utah federal court, for his involvement in a $1 billion fraud scheme involving renewable fuel tax credits, prosecutors said. He awaits sentencing.

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