Two Guys Allegedly Posed As Federal Agents And Tricked The Secret Service

The bizarre scheme allegedly involved one of the men offering to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent on Jill Biden's security detail.

Two men were arrested in Washington, DC, on Wednesday after they allegedly tricked Secret Service agents, including one on the first lady's security detail, into believing that they were members of the Department of Homeland Security.

Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, were both charged with falsely impersonating an officer of the United States — a federal offense that carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.

In their first appearance in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday afternoon, a federal prosecutor said Ali had told people he was affiliated with Pakistani intelligence, and that he had obtained visas from Pakistan and Iran, according to the Associated Press. Any truth to the claims was still being investigated, the prosecutor said.

According to an affidavit from an FBI investigator, the pair's bizarre con allegedly started in February 2020 and involved them trying to "ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community."

They were said to have provided four Secret Service agents and at least one DHS employee with iPhones, a drone, a flat-screen TV, a generator, a gun case, and rent-free apartments worth more than $40,000 per year.

Per court documents, they also let the federal agents use a black GMX SUV that they falsely said was an "official government vehicle."

Taherzadeh was said to have offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent on Jill Biden's security detail.

Taherzadeh also sent selfies and photos of himself wearing police tactical gear to actual federal agents.

The two men allegedly hired an individual to work for them as an "employee of DHS" to "serve on their task force," but only after this person agreed to be shot with an airsoft rifle to supposedly evaluate their pain tolerance.

Their elaborate fraud only began to unravel when a US postal inspector began looking into the alleged assault of a mail carrier in their apartment complex last month. The two men allegedly identified themselves to the investigator as members of the "US Special Police Investigation Unit" — a nonexistent agency.

Residents also told the investigator that the two men had set up security cameras throughout the apartment building and that they had told those living in the complex that they could access their cellphones at any time.

In a statement, a Secret Service spokesperson said all personnel involved in the matter had been placed on administrative leave. The AP reported that at least four employees were placed on leave.

"The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional standards and conduct and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security," the spokesperson said.

An attorney for the men was not yet listed in court records.