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Former FBI spy hunter sentenced to more than 2 years in prison for lying about cash payment

Charles McGonigal pleaded guilty last year in connection with taking $225,000 in cash from an individual tied to the Albanian government.
Image: Former FBI agent Charles McGonigal arrives at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, on Feb. 9, 2023.
Former FBI agent Charles McGonigal arrives at Manhattan federal court in New York in 2023.Yuki Iwamura / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — A former FBI special agent who once led a counterintelligence division in New York was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison in connection with lying to investigators about receiving thousands of dollars from a businessperson tied to the Albanian government.

Charles McGonigal was sentenced to 28 months in prison, as well as three years of supervised release, in connection with taking $225,000 from a former foreign security officer and businessperson with business interests in foreign countries, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Prosecutors had recommended 30 months in prison, saying in a sentencing memo that McGonigal “took great pains to abuse the public trust, conceal his conduct, and line his own pockets, multiple times.”

An attorney for McGonigal did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday night.

McGonigal pleaded guilty last year to one count of concealing material facts stemming from the undisclosed payment, according to court documents. That plea, in Washington, D.C., came after McGonigal was previously sentenced to more than four years in prison by a federal judge in New York for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by providing information to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The two prison sentences will run consecutively, for a total of six and a half years.

McGonigal was special agent in charge of a counterintelligence and national security issues in New York before his retirement in 2018. He was arrested in January 2023 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Justice Department said.

In a statement submitted to the court last month, McGonigal expressed regret for his actions, which he said “minimized all I have done in honor of my service to the U.S. Government.”

Daniel Barnes reported from Washington, and Zoë Richards reported from New York.