A Los-Angeles area lawyer has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to $250,000 worth of bribes the attorney paid two federal agents for access to sensitive law enforcement information. The man will also plead guilty to one charge related to a credit card bust-out scheme, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in a press release.
Edgar Sargsyan, 39, was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of bribing a public official, and two counts of making false statements to investigators. Sargsyan, 39, agreed to plead guilty to the five felony counts which carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 50 years.
In the plea agreement, Sargsyan admitted paying tens of thousands of dollars from the beginning of 2015 through early 2017 to a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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 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. 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 he paid 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 individuals who were the targets of criminal investigations. The agent, who worked out of 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. The FBI agent also 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.
In the plea agreement, Sargsyan, an attorney with law offices in Beverly Hills, is also set to plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. The charges stem from Sargsyan's false statements that the $30,000 cashier's check had been part of a loan and his denial about bribing an FBI agent.
In a separate scheme, Sargsyan admits to committing bank fraud by fraudulently obtaining credit cards in the names of aliens who had formerly been in the U.S. on J1 visitor visas. Along with a co-conspirator, Sargsyan made numerous purchases, including more than $941,000 charged at two businesses under Sargsyan's control.
Sargsyan's first court appearance is scheduled for June 9.