Ex-FBI agent charged with accepting bribes from Armenian organized crime figure

“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.”

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Accused of accepting more than $200,000 in cash bribes and gifts, a former FBI agent was arrested Friday and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official. The lawyer who offered the bribes worked for an Armenian organized crime figure, who was convicted last month in federal court.

Between 2015 and 2017, FBI agent Babak Broumand allegedly accepted bribe payments averaging approximately $10,000 per month. The bribes were paid by a man who became a licensed lawyer in 2016, according to the complaint, 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.

CW1 initially asked Broumand to search for his name in an FBI database and to “defuse” any law enforcement interest in him, the complaint alleges. After discovering that CW1 had been the subject of an FBI investigation into credit card fraud in 2008 or 2009, Broumand allegedly informed CW1 in exchange for bribe payments.

According to the criminal complaint, CW1 paid Broumand to query the FBI database for Levon Termendzhyan, an Armenian organized crime figure for whom CW1 had worked, and a member of the Qatari royal family, who was planning to sell a Lamborghini, a Porsche, and opioid pain medications to CW1. After Broumand ran the names in the database for him, CW1 allegedly gave him a Ducati motorcycle and accessories valued at $36,000 as a bonus.

In addition to running several names through the FBI database for CW1, the complaint also alleges that Broumand obstructed an FBI investigation into Felix Cisneros Jr., a corrupt special agent with Homeland Security Investigations who also had ties to Termendzhyan. Termendzhyan, who is also known as Lev Aslan Dermen, was convicted last month in federal court in Salt Lake City on charges related to a $1 billion renewable fuel tax credit fraud scheme.

After serving the FBI as a special agent for 20 years, Broumand retired in January 2019. On Friday, he was arrested by FBI agents near his house in Lafayette, California, and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

“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 U.S. 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,” asserted 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 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,” stated 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 Broumand’s indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

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