WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors on Wednesday indicted two men they believe posed as federal agents, offering free apartments and other freebies to U.S. Secret Service agents, including one who worked on details security of the first lady.
The two men – Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36 – were arrested as more than a dozen FBI agents were charged Wednesday night at a luxury apartment building in southeast Washington .
Prosecutors allege Taherzadeh and Ali falsely claimed to work for the Department of Homeland Security and work on a special task force investigating gangs and violence related to the Jan. 6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol. They allege the two pose as law enforcement officers to blend in with real federal agents.
Taherzadeh is accused of providing Secret Service officers and agents with free apartments – including a penthouse worth more than $40,000 a year – as well as iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a TV screen, a generator, a gun case and other police tools, according to court documents.
He also offered to let them use a black GMC SUV that he identified as an “official government vehicle,” according to prosecutors. In one instance, Taherzadeh offered to buy a $2,000 assault rifle from a Secret Service agent tasked with protecting the first lady.
Prosecutors said four Secret Service employees were furloughed earlier this week as part of the investigation.
The plot unfolded when the United States Postal Inspection Service began investigating an assault involving a postman in the building and the men identified themselves as part of a fake security unit. interior they called the US Police Special Investigative Unit.
Prosecutors said the men also set up surveillance in the building and told residents they could access any of their cellphones at any time. Residents also told investigators they believed the men had access to their personal information.
Taherzadeh and Ali are due in court on Thursday. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.
Authorities did not specify what, if anything, the men were aiming to accomplish by posing as law enforcement officers or giving the gifts. Prosecutors said the investigation is still ongoing.