Two men were charged with impersonating federal law enforcement agents in Washington, D.C., according to court documents. One of the fake Department of Homeland Security officers offered lavish gifts to Secret Service agents, including one officer on first lady Jill Biden's protective detail.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were arrested during a raid at a luxury apartment complex in the Southeast section of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The duo was charged with impersonating a federal law enforcement officer, which they had been doing since February, 2020, according to prosecutors. The men had insignias and firearms used by federal agents "to ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community," according to the filing.
The men "claimed to be involved in undercover gang-related investigations as well as conducting investigations related to the violence at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021," the affidavit said.
On March 14, 2022, when questioned by an inspector from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the men said they were members of a DHS unit called the "U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit" – which does not exist. The inspector relayed the information to the Office of Inspector General, who then informed the FBI.
Taherzadeh is accused of offering expensive gifts to Secret Service members.
CNBC reported, Taherzadeh allegedly gave Secret Service agents "'rent-free apartments (with a total yearly rent of over $40,000 per apartment), iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat screen television, a case for storing an assault rifle' and more to multiple Secret Service members and a Homeland Security employee, according to the affidavit."
A Secret Service member reportedly lived rent-free in a three-bedroom apartment provided by Taherzadeh – who told the agent that the DHS "had approved extra rooms as part of his operations, and that [agent] could live in one of them for free," the filing declared.
Court documents alleged Taherzadeh offered a $2,000 AR-15 style assault rifle to a Secret Service agent on Jill Biden's protective detail. He "loaned out his 'government vehicle' to Witness 2’s wife, and also provided her with a generator," the affidavit stated.
The agent was assigned to protect the White House as part of the Secret Service's uniformed division, according to the affidavit.
Four members of the Secret Service have been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, including the one assigned to the first lady.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Secret Service said it "has worked, and continues to work, with its law enforcement partners on this ongoing investigation."
"All personnel involved in this matter are on administrative leave and are restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems," the Secret Service said. "The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional standards and conduct and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security."