OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
A former FBI agent who retired after 20 years as a special agent has been arrested and indicted on a federal criminal charge alleging he conspired to accept more than $200,000 in cash bribes and gifts.
The Department of Justice said Babak Broumand accepted the bribes and gifts in exchange for providing sensitive law enforcement information to a lawyer with ties to Armenian organized crime.
Broumand was charged with filing false financial disclosure forms to cover up bribes he allegedly received from an attorney with ties to organized crime.
The indictment alleges that Sargsyan was a criminal and “associated with a criminal organization” when he bribed Broumand, who was still working at the FBI at the time. He allegedly bought Broumand a $36,000 motorcycle and paid him $30,000 for a down payment on a second home in Lake Tahoe.
A DOJ press release stated:
During the course of the scheme, which started in early 2015 and continued through most of 2017, Broumand allegedly accepted bribe payments averaging approximately $10,000 per month.
According to the complaint, the bribes were paid by a man who became a licensed lawyer in 2016, which refers to this man as CW1, or cooperating witness 1. The complaint outlines cash deposits to several bank accounts, as well as various gifts, including hotels, transportation, and escort services, that total well over $200,000.
Many of the bribe payments were made in cash, but one payment was a $30,000 cashier’s check made payable to a company called Love Bugs, a hair lice treatment business that Broumand owned with his wife, the complaint alleges. Broumand used this money – which he later attempted to falsely characterize alternatively as a boat sale or a loan – as part of a down payment on a $1.3 million vacation home near Lake Tahoe.
“Our nation is based on the premise that public officials – especially federal law enforcement officials – place the country and her people above their own self-interest. This former FBI agent stands accused of violating this sacred trust by providing help to criminals simply to fund his lavish lifestyle,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “The complaint outlines a long-running and multi-faceted scheme that tarnished the badge that was the symbol of his oath to uphold the law.”
“The FBI takes allegations of misconduct or criminal activity by its personnel very seriously,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “While these are disturbing allegations, we found no evidence to suggest this went beyond an isolated incident. The agents who investigated this case did so with professionalism and objectivity.”
“The public needs to have confidence that law enforcement officials conduct their work with integrity and honesty. When law enforcement officials participate in bribery schemes, they tarnish the reputations of their colleagues who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe. This kind of alleged conduct will not be tolerated,” said James K. Cheng, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Los Angeles Field Office.
The conspiracy charge alleged in the indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.