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Archive for August 4th, 2022

Man Who Impersonated Homeland Security Agent Pleads Guilty

By Steve Neavling

A man accused of impersonating federal agents and providing expensive gifts to Secret Service officers and agents for the past two years has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scheme. 

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, was convicted of voyeurism, federal conspiracy, and unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. 

Taherzadeh and his co-defendant Haider Ali created a private law enforcement and investigative service called the United States Special Police and masqueraded as federal agents with Homeland Security, according to prosecutors.

The men are accused of possessing an illegal magazine for a Glock firearm, and Taherzadeh had five illegal magazines for a Sig Sauer firearm. 

They are accused of falsely claiming they worked for Homeland Security and were on a special task force investigating gang and violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The pair allegedly posed as law enforcement in order to build a relationship with real agents. 

Taherzadeh gave Secret Service officers and agents rent-free apartments, surveillance systems, a drone, a TV, iPhones, a generator, a gun case and other policing equipment, according to prosecutors. Taherzadeh is also accused of offering to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the first lady. 

Four Secret Service agents who associated with the pair have been placed on leave pending an investigation. 

Homeland Security Watchdog Previously Accused of Violating Ethics Rules

By Steve Neavling

The Homeland Security watchdog who is accused of mishandling deleted Secret Service text messages from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection violated ethics rules while at the Justice Department, according to a 2013 report.

Joseph V. Cuffari, who served as a special agent overseeing a DOJ inspector general field office in Tucson, was under investigation for misleading federal investigators and running “afoul” of ethics regulations, The Washington Post reports.

According to the report, he failed to properly notify his supervisors that he testified in a case against the federal government. 

When asked about it, OIG investigators “were skeptical of Cuffari’s assertions to us” about being at the hearing. 

“Cuffari’s purported response was materially different than what he had e-mailed his supervisors about an hour earlier,” the report states. 

Investigators said they did “not believe” Cuffari’s explanation for failing to disclose the information. 

Cuffari is under fire failing to try to retrieve text messages from Secret Service agents’ phones. 

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been seeking the messages in hopes of revealing more information about Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. 

When Cuffari notified the House and Senate Homeland Security committees this month that the text messages had been “erased,” he failed to disclose that “his office first discovered that deletion in December and failed to alert lawmakers or examine the phones.”