A former FBI agent awaiting trial in Utah on allegations he tried to get prosecutors to drop an investigation into a Boston man's role in an alleged scheme to defraud the U.S. military now faces new charges.
A criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York on Friday alleges Robert Lustyik, 50, and two associates attempted to bribe a public official to gain access to confidential, internal law enforcement documents about a prominent individual in Bangladesh, identified in court documents as "Individual 1."
Lustyik formerly worked as a special agent in White Plains, New York. He resigned from his position in September 2011 after being charged in Utah with conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and obstruction of an agency proceeding. In the Utah case, prosecutors allege Lustyik used his position as an FBI agent to attempt to thwart a criminal investigation into Michael Taylor, president of a Boston-based defense contracting company, with whom he had a business relationship; Taylor is accused of fraud in obtaining $54 million in militarycontracts to provide training and security services in Afghanistan.
Other defendants in the new complaint are Johannes Thaler, 49, and Rizve Ahmed, 34; Thaler also faces charges in the Utah case.
According to the new charges, Lustyik allegedly conspired with Thaler between September 2011 and March 2012 to solicit payments from Ahmed in exchange for documents and information about Individual 1, who was associated with a political party Ahmed opposed. Ahmed wanted the information, which Lustyik had access to as an FBI agent, so he could locate and harm the man and others associated with him, according to a Department of Justice press release.
The complaint states that Lustyik and Thaler accepted at least $1,000 from Ahmed in exchange for confidential FBI information, including a suspicious activity report. They also allegedly schemed to obtain monthly cash bribes from Ahmed, in increments of tens of thousands of dollars, for additional information and help getting criminal charges against a different Bangladeshi political figure dismissed, the release states. The two men allegedly exchanged text messages about how to pressure Ahmed to pay them more money.
In one text, Lustyik allegedly wrote, "We need to push [Ahmed] for this meeting and get that 40gs quick," and then added, "I will work my magic."
Thaler allegedly responded: "I know. It's all right there in front of us. Pretty soon we'll be having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant."
In January 2012, Lustyik allegedly learned Ahmed was considering using another source to get the information about Individual 1.
"I want to kill [Ahmed]," Lustyik said in text message to Thaler, according to prosecutors. "I hung my [***] out the window n we got nothing? ... Tell [Ahmed, I've got [Individual 1's] number and I'm pissed. ... I will put a wire on n get [Ahmed and his associates] to admit they want [a Bangladeshi political figure] offed n we sell it to [Individual 1]."
Lustyik faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of conspiring to bribe a public official and soliciting and receiving bribes. The other men each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.