WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - A Westchester-based FBI agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to trading government files on a "prominent" Bangladeshi politician for bribes.
Robert Lustyik, 52, faces up to 55 years in prison after pleading guilty to all five counts which he was charged.
The Sleepy Hollow man had pleaded guilty this past October to a separate, 11-count indictment in Salt Lake City. He was slated to go to trial in New York on the bribery after two of his co-conspirators pleaded guilty.
U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti accepted Lustyik's latest plea "to (1) conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme; (2) soliciting bribes by a public official; (3) conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the United States and the FBI; (4) theft of government property; and (5) unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report.
The allegations to which Lustyik pleaded guilty on Tuesday concerned his actions from September 2011 through March 2012, representing the end of a 24-year career with FBI, most recently on the counterintelligence squad in White Plains, N.Y.
Rizve "Caesar" Ahmed, a co-conspirator who faces sentencing in January, sought information, including a suspicious activity report, on a "prominent Bangladeshi political figure who was affiliated with a political party opposing [his] views."
Lustyik and his co-defendant Johannes Thaler solicited bribes from Ahmed in exchange for "internal, confidential documents and other confidential information to which Lustyik had access by virtue of his position as an FBI special agent," the Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday.
"Ahmed perceived himself to be on the opposite side of a political rivalry with" the Bangladeshi political figure in question, prosecutors said, identifying this man only as "Individual 1."
"Ahmed sought, among other things, to obtain information about Individual 1, to locate Individual 1, and to harm Individual 1 and others associated with Individual 1," the DOJ statement continues.
Prosecutors described text messages between Lustyik and Thaler in which they plotted how to get more money from Ahmed for confidential information.
"For example, in text messages, Lustyik told Thaler, 'we need to push [Ahmed] for this meeting and get that 40 gs quick . . . . I will talk us into getting the cash . . . . I will work my magic . . . . We r sooooooo close.'"
Thaler responded: "I know. It's all right there in front of us. Pretty soon we'll be having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant," the Justice Department said.
When Ahmed apparently had a different source in mind to provide him with confidential information, his text to Thaler was enraged.
The Justice Department quotes it as saying: "I want to kill C . . . . I hung my ass out the window n we got nothing? . . . . Tell [Ahmed], I've got [Individual 1's] number and I'm pissed. . . . I will put a wire on n get [Ahmed and his associates] to admit they want [a Bangladeshi political figure] offed n we sell it to Individual 1]."
"Lustyik further texted Thaler, 'So bottom line. I need ten gs asap. We gotta squeeze C,'" the DOJ statement continues.
Lustyik's sentencing before Briccetti is scheduled for April 30, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.
Thaler, 51, of New Fairfield, Conn, and Ahmed, 35, of Danbury, Conn., each pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services and wire fraud. They face maximum sentences of 35 years in prison.
Lustyik's co-conspirator in Salt Lake City, Michael Taylor, previously pleaded guilty as well.