LOS ANGELES (AP) — A retired FBI agent from Northern California was arrested Friday for allegedly taking more than $200,000 in bribes to pass law enforcement information to a lawyer with ties to organized crime, prosecutors announced.
Babak Broumand, 53, of Lafayette in the San Francisco Bay Area was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official that was filed in Los Angeles federal court, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
Broumand could face up to five years in prison if convicted. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Broumand spent 20 years as an FBI special agent before retiring last year. Prosecutors said that from 2015 to 2017, while working on national security matters at the San Francisco field office, he received gifts and cash averaging $10,000 a month.
The bribes came from a lawyer with links to Armenian organized crime, prosecutors alleged.
In return, Broumand “would perform official acts and omit to do acts,” providing protection and information to help the lawyer “evade detection by law enforcement,” according to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.
Among other things, Broumand revealed an FBI investigation into a client of the lawyer who last month was convicted in Utah in connection with a $1 billion fraud scheme, according to prosecutors.
Broumand used some of the bribe money for a down payment on a $1.3 million vacation home near Lake Tahoe, authorities said.
Broumand also accepted gifts including an expensive motorcycle, hotel stays and escort services, according to prosecutors.
The allegations are disturbing, but “we found no evidence to suggest this went beyond an isolated incident,” Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.
Broumand currently works as a staff investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, handling whistleblower allegations of “improper governmental activities” and investigating sex harassment and sexual violence allegations, according to his LinkedIn profile.