An FBI Special Agent was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for selling information about a prominent foreign politician to an opposition political party on Monday.
Agent Robert Lustyik pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting bribes from a Bangladeshi man starting first, back in December 2011 when co-conspirator Johannes Thaler met the buyer and exchanged an “FBI memo” and a Suspicious Activity Report in return for $1,000.
According to court documents, the men tried to up a deal for more information to a $40,000 “retainer” and then a $30,000 monthly salary but the man backed out.
Text messages on Lustyik’s phone sent to Thaler said the following:
L: Hey did you see cezar [Ahmed]? Did he pay you?
T: Yeah. I got some for you. We need to talk about Bangladesh
L: Ok. He give you a grand? And r they ready to play?
T: Yes on both.
Later, Lustyik would text:
I want to kill C… F—king C. Let’s kick his ass. Show them. I hung my ass out the window n we got nothing?”
In all, the men pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes by a public official, conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the United States and the FBI, theft of government property, unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report, and wire fraud.
Thaler – a shoe salesmen – was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison for his role in the scheme.
U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti delivered the Monday sentences in White Plains federal court stating, “This is a truly astonishing case. His actions betrayed the public. This was reprehensible conduct.”
The duo were also sentenced by a Utah court earlier this year in an unrelated bribery case that involved a former Green Beret and international security contracts in which the men tried to derail a federal investigation into a controversial defense contractor.
In an email to the ex-Green Beret in March 2012, Lustyik wrote:
[I]t is kind of sad that after 24 years of government service all I have to show for it is a couple of boxes of awards somewhere in my basement and the bitter taste of knowing that ‘the Bureau’ is a family… a dysfunctional one.
Michael Taylor, owner of American International Security Corp., was under investigation for a kickback racket to secure about $54 million in defense contracts in Afghanistan. He told Lustyik and Thaler that he would make them rich if they could keep him out of investigators’ reach.
Prosecutors said Lustyik tried to thwart the federal probe by making Taylor a confidential informant. Lustyik received a 10 year state prison sentence in the case after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction.
For his role, Thaler received 13 months after being convicted on the charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and obstruction.
Both men’s federal and state time will be ran consecutively. Lustyik had been with the FBI for over 20 years and was working as a counter intelligence “spy hunter” at the time of his indictment.