A former FBI special agent was convicted of accepting bribes worth at least $150,000 in exchange for providing law enforcement information to a lawyer with ties to organized crime.
Babak Broumand, 56, California, was found guilty of two counts of bribery of a public official, one count of conspiracy, and one count of monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a news release last week. Broumand is slated for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 30, 2023, during which he could face decades in prison.
“Broumand conspired with the very types of criminals he was trusted to investigate. Today’s guilty verdict sends a clear message that no one is above the law, and any Department of Justice employee who participates in these types of schemes will be brought to justice,” Zachary Shroyer, the special agent in charge of the DOJ Office of the Inspector General Los Angeles Field Office, said in a DOJ news release.
Another FBI official, Don Alway, described Broumand as a “veteran FBI agent” who “turned his back” on the bureau. Alway claimed the conviction is “proof the FBI will root out corruption of any kind.”
“This prosecution was the result of hard work by multiple partner agencies to work through the painful truth of having to investigate one of its own,” Alway added.
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 “E.S.” but his name was Edgar Sargsyan, who earlier pleaded guilty to bribing Broumand and another federal agent and testified at his trial.
“To conceal the nature of their corrupt relationship, Broumand made it falsely appear that E.S. was working as an FBI source” and wrote false reports stating he was making legitimate database queries, according to the DOJ.
One involved Levon Termendzhyan, whom prosecutors described as an Armenian organized crime figure for whom Sargsyan had worked.
“In exchange for the illegal inquiries, E.S. paid Broumand at least $150,000 in cash and check bribes, including a Ducati motorcycle and accessories valued at more than $36,000,” the DOJ said. “The bribes were deposited into the accounts for Love Bugs LLC, a Lafayette-based lice-removal hair salon business that Broumand and his wife started in 2007.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.