Four Secret Service agents were lured with apartments and gifts by the government to be put on leave.
Haider Sher Ali and Arian Thaherzadeh were arrested after they impersonated Department of Homeland Security agents. This was two years of lavishing Secret Service agents gifts, including apartments and guns. According to court filings, they were each charged with falsely impersonating an American officer on Wednesday.
Four Secret Service officials in First Lady Jill Biden’s detail who allegedly accepted gifts from the phony DHS agents have also been placed on administrative leave. Sher-Ali and Taherzadeh had lavished them with gifts, including rent-free penthouse apartments, high-end electronics, police equipment, a drone, and the use of “Official government vehicles,” among other goodies. Taherzadeh had specifically offered to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for one of the agents assigned to the First Lady’s security detail, according to the indictment.
The two men had apparently conned not only First Lady Jill Biden’s Secret Service detail but also the management of the building they were living in into believing they were federal agents investigating the January 6th Capitol riot, among other crimes. The two men were granted free access to luxury realty worth over $40,000, both for their own and the Secret Service agents.
Asked by investigators why the phony agents were not paying rent, a representative of the building responded with a single word: “Government.” Management company Tishman Speyer were so convinced the men were feds that they had provided the pair with access to surveillance cameras and the codes needed to access all doors in the building. The binder contained information about fellow residents of the building, which included Secret Service agents and federal employees.
The fake agents even pretended to ‘recruit’ a building resident to be part of their “Task force,” requiring the person submit to being shot with an Airsoft rifle “To assess their tolerance to pain and reactions.” Being told they had passed the test, the “Candidat” told an FBI agent they were then assigned to research a contractor who “Supported the Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community.”
It’s not clear how long the bizarre charade would have continued had someone in the building not attacked a post office worker. A postal inspector arrived at the scene to talk to the fake agents who were informed that they might have seen the crime. Not only could they not resist boasting of their bogus Homeland Security connections, they also bragged that they were deputized “Police special” with the Washington DC government and involved in undercover gang investigations, as well as the January 6th probe.
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According to the postal inspector, the fake agents had managed to convince their fellow residents that not only did they have access to all the door codes of the building, but that they could also access everyone’s cell phones and had access to personal information on everyone in the apartment complex. The information was relayed to the Department of Homeland Security. They eventually realized that something wasn’t right and gave it to the FBI.
NCIS, FBI and US Postal Investigative Services, along with multiple law enforcement agencies, searched the building. According to prosecutors, they found not only large quantities of electronic and weaponry but also Pakistani and Iranian visas. They may also face additional charges for conspiracy, firearms and evidence tampering in addition to their impersonation.