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Former veteran California FBI agent sentenced for bribery

Prison bars
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 28, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former FBI agent in California was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison for accepting at least $150,000 in gifts and cash bribes to provide confidential information to a man with organized crime ties.

Babak Broumand, 56, of Lafayette, was sentenced in federal court in Los Angeles. After an 11-day trial, he was convicted last year of conspiracy, bribery of a public official, and monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Broumand, who joined the FBI in 1999, worked until 2018 in the bureau’s San Francisco office, where he was responsible for national security investigations, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said from 2015 to 2018, Broumand accepted cash and gifts that included escorts, hotel stays and private jet flights in return for searching law enforcement databases to help a self-proclaimed lawyer and his criminal associates learn if they were under investigation and avoid prosecution.

Broumand “abandoned his pledge to serve the American people in exchange for a lavish lifestyle,” Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in a statement.

Court documents refer to the lawyer only as “E.S.” but his name was Edgar Sargsyan, who earlier pleaded guilty to bribing Broumand and another federal agent and testified at his trial.

The two men were introduced at a Beverly Hills cigar club.

Prosecutors said Broumand would search databases for specific people at Sargsyan’s request and warn him to “stay away” if they were under criminal investigation.

They included Levon Termendzhyan, described by authorities as an Armenian organized crime figure for whom Sargsyan had worked. In 2020, Termendzhyan was convicted in a Utah federal court of involvement in a $1 billion fraud scheme involving renewable fuel tax credits and awaits sentencing.

Authorities said Broumand also searched a confidential FBI database for information on Sam Sarkis Solakyan, who was eventually sentenced in San Diego to five years in prison for convictions for submitting more than $250 million in fraudulent claims through California’s workers' compensation system.

Prosecutors also said that Broumand interfered with an FBI investigation into Felix Cisneros Jr., a Homeland Security special agent with ties to Termendzhyan and Sargsyan. Cisneros was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.