Two men accused of posing as federal agents indicted on federal charges

Author: Robert Legare and Nicole Sganga / CBS
Published:
The affidavit to support the arrest of Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali is photographed Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Federal prosecutors have charged the two men they say were posing as federal agents, giving free apartments and other gifts to U.S. Secret Service agents, including one who worked on the first lady’s security detail. Both were taken into custody as more than a dozen FBI agents charged into a luxury apartment building in Southeast Washington on Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Two men who were arrested for allegedly posing as federal agents have been indicted on a handful of counts by a federal grand jury. Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali have been indicted on false impersonation of an officer or employee of the U.S. and unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Taherzadeh was also indicted on an additional count of the second charge for another ammo device.

Taherzadeh, 40, and Ali, 35, were arrested by FBI agents earlier in April. The FBI accused the two men of impersonating various government officials, including members of several law enforcement agencies, since February 2020.

The two men are accused of obtaining paraphernalia, handguns and assault rifles used by federal law enforcement agencies and falsely claiming to be members of these agencies. The FBI claimed they used their false associations with the U.S. government “to ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community.”

While allegedly pretending to be a member of the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI claims Taherzadeh provided U.S. Secret Service members and a DHS employee with rent-free apartments and goods such as iPhones, a case for storing an assault rifle and surveillance systems.

Secret Service personnel were put up in a luxury apartment building in Southwest D.C., near where the suspects lived, according to U.S. officials. But the personnel have since moved out, posing a challenge to investigators seeking to determine if their walls were bugged. The FBI has taken custody of all electronic materials and evidence related to this case, U.S. officials said.

Four Secret Service employees have been suspended after allegedly being duped by Taherzadeh and Ali. Two of the four suspended officials are agents, and two are uniformed division officers.

In a statement, the Secret Service previously said it is taking this incident “extremely seriously,” working with federal authorities and conducting its own review.

“Although this is an ongoing investigation, we have found no evidence of any adverse security impacts or improper access to sensitive information, systems or protected locations at this time,” the statement said.

While searching the apartments, investigators also recovered Ali’s passport containing three “older” Pakistani visas and two Iranian visas from 2019 and January 2020, prosecutors said. There was an indication on his Iranian visa that he had entered that country at some point, prosecutors said, although they did not specify when.

Ali had been under investigation by HSI’s Newark office and the U.S. Postal Service for fraudulent activity stemming from an alleged credit card ring scheme, according to two law enforcement sources. The status of that investigation remains unclear.

Other court documents filed Tuesday allege that, while posing as a DHS official, Taherzadeh instructed a witness “to conduct research into an individual” who “provided support to the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.”

Another witness claims that, despite not even having an appointment, Ali was essentially able to argue his way into having the witness fingerprinted at a Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia facility.

A third witness alleges that, following an argument about the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements, Taherzadeh told her and a group of friends that if they had been men and “stated their political beliefs in his home” he would have shot them, according to the court documents.

Both Ali and Taherzadeh are to be released to home confinement pending trial. District of Columbia Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey ruled last week that the men are not flight risks and pose no threat to the community. However, that decision was made at a time when there was only one charge pending against both men.

Sophie Reardon, Jordan Freiman and Sara Cooke contributed reporting.

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