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D.C. man accused of impersonating DHS agent pleads guilty

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, pleaded guilty in federal court to posing as a law enforcement officer. The scheme led to Secret Service agents being placed on administrative leave.
Arian Taherzadeh appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.
Arian Taherzadeh appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.Bill Hennessy

A D.C. man accused of impersonating a law enforcement officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from a scheme that led to four Secret Service agents being placed on administrative leave.

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, voyeurism and a weapons charge. He entered the plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department in its ongoing investigation.

In April, Taherzadeh and co-defendant Haider Ali were arrested and charged with impersonating Department of Homeland Security agents. According to court documents, Taherzadeh lavished gifts valuing $90,000 on Secret Service agents in an effort to build a cover as he promoted his security company. One of the Secret Service agents placed on leave had been detailed to first lady Jill Biden.

Taherzadeh and Ali had created a business entity called United States Special Police LLC, which claimed on its website to “provide law enforcement, protective services, and investigative services within a contracted jurisdiction,” according to court filings.

Taherzadeh used the scheme to obtain leases on luxury D.C. apartments in buildings that lost more than $800,000 in unpaid rent, parking and fees stemming from the ruse, the Justice Department said in a news release Monday.

Among the “fictitious stories” told by Taherzadeh was him claiming to be a former Army Ranger, a former U.S. air marshal, a DHS special agent and a member of a multi-jurisdictional federal task force, court documents state.

Taherzadeh allegedly told apartment owners that his business operation was part of a DHS “task force,” and he “lived at these apartment complexes for extended periods of time and failed to pay rent and associated fees” with Ali and a third unnamed subject, court documents state.

In one of the apartments, Taherzadeh “maintained and possessed an unlicensed gun with five fully loaded large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, containing a total of 61 rounds of ammunition,” prosecutors alleged in court documents. The voyeurism charge stemmed from filming women engaging in sexual activity in his bedroom without their consent, court documents said.

Michelle Peterson, Taherzadeh’s lawyer, declined to comment on the plea deal when contacted by NBC News.

Taherzadeh is slated to appear for a status hearing on Nov. 2. His sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet.