A former FBI agent was among three persons named in a federal grand jury indictment handed up Friday in Salt Lake City in a scheme to use the agent’s official position to derail a federal investigation in exchange for a $200,000 cash payment.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said former FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass., the principal of Boston-based American International Security Corporation (AISC); and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn., each were named on one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.
According to the indictment, while active in the FBI, Mr. Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing security and energy contracts.
“He allegedly acted through a childhood friend to secure promises of cash, purported medical expenses and business proceeds in exchange for abusing his position as an FBI agent,” Mr. Breuer said. “The alleged conduct is outrageous, and we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done in this case.”
The indictment said Mr. Lustyik was an FBI agent until September, assigned to counterintelligence work in White Plains, N.Y. It also said that from at least June 2011, the three had a business relationship involving the pursuit of contracts for security services, electric power and energy development, among other things, in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
According to the indictment, Mr. Taylor learned of a federal criminal investigation, initiated in Utah in 2010, into whether he, his business and others committed fraud in the award and performance of a contract with the Department of Defense.
Soon thereafter, the indictment said, Mr. Taylor began to give and offer things of value to Mr. Lustyik in exchange for Mr. Lustyik’s agreement to use his official position to impair and impede the Utah investigation. The indictment also alleged that Mr. Thaler, a childhood friend of Mr. Lustyik‘s, served as a conduit between Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lustyik, passing information and things of value.
Specifically, the indictment said, Mr. Taylor offered Mr. Lustyik a $200,000 cash payment; money purportedly for the medical expenses of Mr. Lustyik’s minor child; and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.
According to the indictment, Mr. Lustyik used his official FBI position to impede the Utah investigation by, among other things, designating Mr. Taylor as an FBI confidential source, texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Mr. Taylor and attempting to interview potential witnesses and targets in the Utah investigation.
The indictment said Mr. Lustyik wrote to Mr. Taylor that he was going to interview one of Mr. Taylor’s co- defendants and “blow the doors off this thing.” Referring to the Utah investigation, Mr. Lustyik also allegedly assured Mr. Taylor he would not stop in his “attempt to sway this your way.”
According to the indictment, the three men attempted to conceal the full extent of Mr. Lustyik’s relationship with Mr. Taylor from the Utah prosecutors and agents, including by making and planning to make material misrepresentations and omissions to federal law enforcement involved in the investigation of Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lustyik were both previously arrested on prior criminal complaints in this case. Mr. Taylor has been detained pending trial and Mr. Lustyik received a $2 million bond. Mr. Thaler is expected to surrender to authorities Saturday.
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Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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