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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Ex-FBI agent gets 6 years for selling confidential information to mob-linked lawyer

The former counterintelligence agent was convicted of receiving $150,000 in bribes, including a $36,000 Ducati motorcycle, in exchange for information.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — A former FBI agent was sentenced to 6 years in prison after a federal jury convicted him of taking bribes to search law enforcement databases for a lawyer connected to Armenian organized crime.

Babak Broumand, 56, was also ordered to pay $132,000 for the cash payments and other benefits he received from Edgar Sargsyan, the lawyer and con man who cooperated with the prosecution and testified at trial that he paid Broumand $10,000 a month.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner said at Monday's hearing that it's always tough to sentence someone who's committed a very serious crime but also had done much good for the country, referring to Broumand's 20-year career as special agent involved in counterintelligence.

The judge denied the government's request to incorporate Broumand's perjury on the witness stand in the calculation and gave him a prison term well short of the 10 years prosecutors had asked for. The sentence was also considerably more than the 18 months suggested by Broumand's attorney Steven Gruel.

"I love the FBI," Broumand told the judge. "I'm ashamed to be here in front of you, in front of my family, in these cuffs."

Broumand said that, as an agent investigating national security issues at the FBI's bureau in San Francisco, he had been able to save countless lives and change the course of history to the benefit of the United States. He also said dozens of his reports had made it to the White House.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Morse objected to Broumand's claim that he didn't know Sargsyan was a criminal when he accepted gifts from him, because according to the prosecutor, Broumand searched a law-enforcement database after he had first started working with Sargsyan for information on the lawyer and found that he been under investigation for credit card fraud.

Sargsyan paid Broumand at least $150,000 in cash and check bribes, including a Ducati motorcycle and accessories valued at more than $36,000, according to the government. The bribes were deposited into the accounts for Love Bugs LLC, a Lafayette, California-based lice-removal hair salon business that Broumand and his wife had started in 2007.

Broumand, at Sargsyan's request, repeatedly searched an FBI database for information about Levon Termendzhyan, an Armenian organized crime figure for whom Sargsyan had worked. The database searches revealed that the FBI bureau in Los Angeles was investigating the wealthy businessman.

Termendzhyan was found guilty in 2020 on charges related to a $1-billion renewable fuel tax-credit fraud scheme in Utah.

Broumand also researched a member of the Qatari royal family for Sargsyan because the lawyer was providing this individual with Demerol in exchange for hunderds of thousands of dollars, and he wanted to make sure that this person didn't have ties to terrorism. Broumand told Sargsyan it was "OK" to do business with the Qatari individual and as a "bonus" the lawyer bought him the Ducati motorcycle.

Gruel said at Monday's hearing there was no evidence that information Broumand provided to Sargsyan had harmed an FBI investigation.

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Categories / Criminal, Government, Law

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