LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An attorney with law offices in Beverly Hills agreed today to plead guilty to five federal offenses, including bribing two federal agents for assistance in obtaining sensitive law enforcement information.
Edgar Sargsyan, 39, of Calabasas, was charged Tuesday two counts of bribing a public official, two counts of making false statements to federal investigators and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In a plea agreement filed in Los Angeles federal court, Sargsyan agreed to plead guilty to the five felony counts, which carry a maximum total penalty of up to 50 years in federal prison.
In the agreement, Sargsyan admitted paying tens of thousands of dollars from the beginning of 2015 through early 2017 to a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations and a special agent with the FBI.
Sargsyan paid the HSI agent at least $32,000 in checks and at least $45,000 to $50,000 in cash in return for assistance that included the HSI agent searching law enforcement databases to corruptly obtain information that he passed to Sargsyan, according to the plea agreement.
The HSI agent also altered a U.S. Department of Homeland Security database to make it “more likely” that a foreign national who was a client of Sargsyan's law firm would be allowed to enter the United States, according to court papers.
In another corrupt act detailed in the plea agreement, the HSI agent prepared a document on HSI letterhead in an unsuccessful attempt to have one of Sargsyan's relatives from Armenia admitted into the United States.
Sargsyan also admitted paying the FBI agent monthly cash bribes of up to $10,000 beginning in 2015 in exchange for the agent providing “protection,” which included running queries on law enforcement databases and warning Sargsyan to “stay away” from certain people who were the targets of criminal investigations, according to the plea agreement.
The agent, who worked at the FBI's San Francisco field office, accepted the cash payments on trips to Southern California, where he stayed at luxury hotels that were paid for by Sargsyan, federal prosecutors allege.
The FBI agent also allegedly accepted from Sargsyan a $36,000 racing motorcycle as a “bonus” for running database checks on a particular person. Sargsyan also gave the FBI agent a $30,000 cashier's check that was made to appear to be a payment to the agent's business, according to court documents.
Sargsyan also agreed to plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. These charges stem from interviews in September 2017 by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, when Sargsyan falsely stated that the $30,000 check to the FBI agent was a loan, and in December 2018, when he falsely told special agents with the FBI and HSI that he did not pay bribes to the FBI agent, court documents show.
In his plea agreement, Sargsyan also admitted participating in a conspiracy that defrauded financial institutions by fraudulently obtaining credit cards in the names of aliens who had previously been in the United States on J1 visitor visas.
Once the credit cards were issued by the financial institutions, Sargsyan and his co-conspirator charged “purchases,” including more than $941,000 that Sargsyan personally charged at two businesses he controlled, Pillar Law Group and Regdalin Group, prosecutors allege.
Sargsyan has been directed to make his initial federal court appearance in downtown Los Angeles on June 9.
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