Former FBI agent Robert Lustyik pled guilty in federal court on Tuesday, December 23rd to charges including bribery, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft of government property. The alleged crimes involved accepting money to provide documents and other information about the location of an individual who was tracked by the FBI.
Statements from prosecutors
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara noted in reference to the case: “Robert Lustyik today admitted to conducting a bribery scheme in which, for his own personal gain, he secretly sold information and documents to which he had access as an FBI agent. Lustyik betrayed our system of justice: he breached not only the law, but also his sworn oath, and the great trust and confidence placed in him by citizens and colleagues. For his criminal conduct he now faces, as he must, serious, commensurate penalties.”
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Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell commented: “Robert Lustyik discarded the FBI’s principles of ‘fidelity, bravery, and integrity,’ and sold his badge to the highest bidder. Greed has no place in public service or law enforcement. The Department of Justice will root out corruption wherever it takes hold, and hold accountable those who abuse the public’s trust for personal gain.”
Details on bribery and fraud case against former FBI agent
Lustyik was an FBI special agent assigned to the counterintelligence squad in White Plains, New York. Lustyik’s co-defendant, Johannes Thaler, was a friend of Lustyik’s, and Lustyik’s other co-defendant, Rizve Ahmed, was an acquaintance of Thaler.
Beginning in September 2011 until March 2012, Lustyik, Thaler, and Ahmed were involved in a bribery scheme. Lustyik and Thaler solicited money from Ahmed in return for Lustyik providing confidential documents and information he could access due to his position as an FBI special agent. The documents and information pertained to a well-known Bangladeshi. Ahmed had a political rivalry with this unnamed person. Ahmed was looking for information about this person so as to harm him or his family and associates.
Lustyik and Thaler exchanged text messages, including texts discussing pressuring Ahmed to pay them more money for the confidential information. In one text Lustyik told Thaler, “we need to push [Ahmed] for this meeting and get that 40 gs quick . . . . I will talk us into getting the cash . . . . I will work my magic . . . . We r sooooooo close.” Thaler responded, “I know. It’s all right there in front of us. Pretty soon we’ll be having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant . . . .”