A man from Washington, D.C., who pretended to be a federal law enforcement officer and leased luxury apartments for which he failed to pay rent was sentenced to 33 months in prison on Friday, federal authorities said.
The man, Arian Taherzadeh, 41, had falsely claimed to be a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, a former U.S. air marshal, a former U.S. Army Ranger, and a member of a federal task force working across multiple jurisdictions, among other fake roles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a news release.
Mr. Taherzadeh and a co-conspirator, Haider Ali, 36, of Springfield, Va., used those false claims to recruit others to his law enforcement firm, which they called the United States Special Police LLC and falsely described as a private law enforcement service linked to the federal government, according to court documents.
Mr. Taherzadeh used the false claims to recruit others to join his business and to defraud the owners of three apartment complexes in the D.C. area into providing him with multiple apartments and parking spaces for the supposed law enforcement operations, federal authorities said.
Mr. Taherzadeh also installed surveillance cameras outside and inside his apartment at one of the complexes.
Among other places, he installed, maintained and utilized cameras in his bedroom. He used these cameras to record women engaged in sexual activity and he showed the explicit videos to third parties, according to federal prosecutors.
Mr. Taherzadeh had pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy, a federal offense, as well as unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and voyeurism, which are criminal offenses in the District of Columbia, the authorities said.
The potential effects of Mr. Taherzadeh’s actions supported a significant sentence, Matthew Graves, a U.S. attorney, wrote in court documents.
“The defendant’s conduct was sophisticated, and his schemes continued for many years and victimized numerous people and businesses,” Mr. Graves said in a filing from October. “His false association with law enforcement coupled with his improper relationship with the Secret Service, had the potential to do significant harm, including to our nation’s security.”
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also ordered Mr. Taherzadeh to make restitution of $706,218 and to complete 36 months of supervised release following his prison sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Michelle Peterson, Mr. Taherzadeh’s lawyer, declined to comment on Sunday evening but in a court document filed she said, “Mr. Taherzadeh recognizes the seriousness of the offenses he committed and stands prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.”
Mr. Ali was sentenced in August to 68 months of incarceration to be followed by 36 months of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $758,000.
The two men ingratiated themselves with employees of the U.S. Secret Service to make their scheme more believable, prosecutors said.
Mr. Taherzadeh gave the employees gifts, according to the Justice Department. In one instance, he provided a Secret Service employee and his wife with a generator and a “doomsday” survival backpack.
He provided at least two other employees with rent-free apartments for about a year. One received a penthouse worth approximately $40,200 in rent and the other an apartment worth an estimated $48,240. Other gifts included a drone and a gun locker, according to prosecutors.