WASHINGTON – A District of Columbia man pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from a scheme in which he pretended to be a federal law enforcement officer for a range of purposes, including to secure a series of apartments in which he then failed to pay rent. He also used the ruse to promote his security company and ingratiate himself with actual officers.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a superseding information charging him with a federal conspiracy offense and two District of Columbia offenses: unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and voyeurism. A sentencing date has not yet been set. He is to appear Nov. 2, 2022, for a status hearing before the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. As part of his plea agreement, Taherzadeh has agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation.
According to plea documents, Taherzadeh created a business entity called United States Special Police LLC (USSP), which was described as a private law enforcement, investigative, and protective service based in Washington. The company was not associated in any way with the United States government or the District of Columbia. As the scheme unfolded between December 2018 and April 2022, Taherzadeh falsely claimed to be, among other things, a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, a member of a multi-jurisdictional federal task force, a former United States Air Marshal, and a former Army Ranger. He used these false claims to recruit others to USSP, under the guise that it was part of a covert federal law enforcement task force, defraud owners of three apartment complexes into providing him with multiple apartments and parking spaces for his supposed law enforcement operations, and ingratiate himself with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community.
Taherzadeh and others used assumed law enforcement personas, false and fictious federal law enforcement supervisors, and the company to obtain leases for multiple apartments in three complexes in the District of Columbia. These apartment buildings sustained more than $800,000 in losses from unpaid rent, parking, and associated fees. In one such apartment, Taherzadeh maintained and possessed an unlicensed gun with five fully loaded large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, containing a total of 61 rounds of ammunition.
In furtherance of his scheme, Taherzadeh and others obtained law enforcement clothing, paraphernalia, equipment, and an identification-making device. This included, among other things, police patches and badges, tactical gear and equipment, police lights, a Sig Sauer P229 firearm, a Glock 19 9mm handgun, large quantities of ammunition, concealed carry holsters, surveillance equipment, and unlicensed long gun components including a firearm barrel, weapon stock attachments, foregrips, a magazine cartridge and scope.
According to the plea documents, beginning as early as the spring of 2020, Taherzadeh began falsely identifying himself as a Special Agent to employees of the U.S. Secret Service. For instance, he falsely claimed to two Secret Service employees that he was in a gang unit. He told another that he was part of a covert task force. Taherzadeh also provided these Secret Service employees with tangible and intangible gifts. For instance, Taherzadeh provided one employee and his wife with a generator and a doomsday/survival backpack. He provided another employee with a rent-free penthouse apartment for approximately one year, worth approximately $40,200. He provided a third employee with a rent-free apartment for approximately one year, worth an estimated $48,240, as well as a drone, a gun locker, and a Pelican case. According to the plea documents, he did so to ingratiate himself with Secret Service employees because it deepened their relationship and furthered his ability to impersonate himself as a federal law enforcement officer.
Finally, Taherzadeh installed surveillance cameras outside and inside his apartment in 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. Taherzadeh then showed these explicit videos to third parties.
Taherzadeh and a co-defendant, Haider Ali, 36, also of Washington, D.C., were arrested on April 6, 2022. Ali has pleaded not guilty to charges filed against him in an indictment.
A Missouri man was indicted Tuesday for allegedly leaving a voicemail containing a threat on the personal cell phone of an election official in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Walter Lee Hoornstra, 50, of Tecumseh, is charged with one count of communicating an interstate threat and one count of making a threatening telephone call.
“These unlawful threats of violence endanger election officials, undermine our electoral process, and threaten our democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department’s Election Threats Task Force, working with our partners across the country, remains committed to investigating and prosecuting such illegal threats to ensure that these public servants are able to do their jobs free from intimidation.”
According to the indictment, on or about May 19, 2021, Hoornstra allegedly left the following voicemail message on the personal cell phone of the election official: “So I see you’re for fair and competent elections, that’s what it says here on your homepage for your recorder position you’re trying to fly here. But you call things unhinged and insane lies when there’s a forensic audit going on. You need to check yourself. You need to do your [expletive] job right because other people from other states are watching your ass. You [expletive] renege on this deal or give them any more troubles, your ass will never make it to your next little board meeting.”
“The FBI is committed to vigorously investigating and holding accountable anyone who threatens election workers,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “These public servants protect our fundamental right to vote by administering fair and free elections. Any attempts to interfere with our elections by intimidating election officials, their staffs, and volunteers with threats of violence will not be tolerated.”
If convicted, Hoornstra faces up to five years in prison for making a threatening interstate communication and up to two years in prison for making a threatening telephone call. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Surveillance video caught the moment a Prescott Valley Wendy’s employee came up to a customer and sucker-punched him after an argument a couple of weeks ago. On July 26, 35-year-old Antoine Kendrick was at the register taking the 67-year-old man’s order. However, police say the man then complained about his order, and that’s when things turned violent.