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Two men plead not guilty to criminal charges they posed as federal agents

Sports & General Apr 26, 2022 06:01PM ET
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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Two men who are accused of posing as federal agents and lavishing gifts on U.S. Secret Service agents, including one assigned to first lady Jill Biden's security detail, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the criminal charges against them.

The men plead not guilty in a virtual hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Arian "Ari" Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were arrested earlier in April, two days after four Secret Service agents were placed on leave for allegedly accepting gifts including iPhones and rent-free apartments at a luxury complex in Southeast, Washington D.C.

In a search of apartments leased under the name of Taherzadeh's company, U.S. Special Police LLC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uncovered a swath of evidence including firearms, surveillance equipment, hard drives, law enforcement gear and equipment for making identity cards.

In addition to facing charges for impersonating federal agents, they are also charged with the unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

In an amended sworn statement filed in court last week, the FBI said that Taherzadeh and Ali posed not only as agents with the Department of Homeland Security, but also impersonated employees from the Justice Department and the Office of Personnel Management as well.

They also offered gifts or favors to employees of other federal agencies who lived in the apartment complex, including the FBI and the Department of Defense, the statement says.

Last week, Reuters reported that Taherzadeh previously posed as a wealth IT executive in the years before he allegedly told people he was a federal law enforcement agent.

Court records show that Taherzadeh racked up more than $1 million in debt for unpaid rent from apartment complexes, luxury cars, VIP box seats at Capital One Arena, and a sponsorship deal with the company that owns several of Washington's professional sports teams. [L2N2WH1E0]

Two men plead not guilty to criminal charges they posed as federal agents
 

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