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.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division, Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Tira A. Hayward, Acting Inspector in Charge, Washington Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
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. An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Aloi and Joshua S. Rothstein of the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section.
Valuable assistance has been provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Tortorice and Paralegal Specialists Chad Byron, Quiana Dunn-Gordon, and Lisa Abbe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorneys Kathleen Campbell and Evan Turgeon of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.