Two DC men posing as Homeland Security agents carried out such a convincing and elaborate scheme that they tricked four Secret Service agents, including one on the first lady’s detail, into accepting lavish gifts like gifts. penthouse apartments, iPhones and expensive guns, according to federal authorities.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, were arrested on Wednesday night when FBI agents and United States Postal Service cops stormed the lavish Crossing Apartments in the capital’s Navy Yard neighborhood and hijacked them. accused of falsely impersonating a federal officer.
According to an unsealed affidavit filed in federal court, the couple have been posing as high-level DHS agents for more than two years, displaying official-looking identification, wearing Glocks and driving black SUVs with emergency lights while living in several luxury units at the railroad crossings and “indulging” with federal law enforcement and defense officials, some of whom were lured in to live in the same building.
During the two men’s attempts to get close to real federal law enforcement agents, prosecutors said Taherzadeh paid special attention to Secret Service agents, who were embedded into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
In one instance, Taherzadeh attempted to gift a member of First Lady Jill Biden’s Secret Service a $2,000 assault rifle and lent his ‘government vehicle’ to the agent’s wife, the report says. affidavit.
Other Secret Service personnel were given access to free apartments worth $40,000 a year as well as “iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat-screen TV, a phone case to stow an assault rifle, generator and law enforcement accessories,” the affidavit reads. Residents of the crossings, including some of the trapped Secret Service agents, have since told investigators that the compound appears to be heavily guarded by Taherzadeh.
The courtship of Secret Service personnel had serious consequences. Following the revelation of Taherzadeh and Ali’s alleged fraud, “four Secret Service members have been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation,” the FBI said.
In another disturbing sign of how convincing the pair’s alleged ruse was, Taherzadeh and Ali managed to scam an anonymous ‘candidate’ into joining a Homeland Security ‘task force’ they had invented. . But their “recruitment process” included shooting the candidate with an airsoft gun, supposedly to assess their pain tolerance, and asking the candidate to seek out an anonymous person who worked as a contractor for the Department of Health. Defense and the Intelligence Community.
The fraud reportedly collapsed when neighbors named the two men as federal law enforcement officers who may have witnessed an assault on a mail carrier at their apartment complex. When a U.S. Postal Service inspector showed up to investigate, Taherzadeh and Ali reportedly said they were members of the non-existent U.S. Police Special Investigative Unit,” which they claimed was part of the Department of internal security.
After the postal inspector learned that the two men allegedly got into the habit of driving around in a black GMC SUV equipped with emergency lights and associated with real Secret Service Homeland Security officials, the real Federal law enforcement informed the DHS Inspector General, which triggered the FBI investigation that led to the charges against Taherzadeh and Ali.