A former FBI special agent was sentenced today to serve five years in prison, to be served consecutively with a 10 year federal sentence imposed on him previously in the District of Utah, for accepting and soliciting bribes in exchange for providing internal law enforcement documents and other confidential information about a prominent citizen of Bangladesh for use by a political rival.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York and Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz of the Department of Justice made the announcement.
Robert Lustyik, 53, of Westchester County, New York, pleaded guilty on Dec. 23, 2014, to all five counts in the indictment against him, including conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme, soliciting bribes by a public official, conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the United States and the FBI, theft of government property and unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report. Lustyik separately was sentenced on March 30, 2015, in the District of Utah to 10 years imprisonment for soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for taking official actions in his capacity as an FBI special agent.
Lustyik was an FBI special agent who worked on the counterintelligence squad in the White Plains Resident Agency. Johannes Thaler was Lustyik’s friend and Rizve Ahmed, aka Caesar, was an acquaintance of Thaler. According to court records, from September 2011 through March 2012, Lustyik, Thaler and Ahmed engaged in a scheme in which Lustyik and Thaler solicited bribe payments from Ahmed in exchange for Lustyik’s agreement to provide confidential documents and information pertaining to a prominent citizen of Bangladesh whom Ahmed perceived to be a political rival, and whom Ahmed sought to locate and harm. Lustyik had access to the confidential documents and information through his position as an FBI special agent.
As part of the scheme, Lustyik and Thaler exchanged text messages, including messages about how to pressure Ahmed to pay them additional money in exchange for confidential information. For example, in late December 2011 and early January 2012, Lustyik texted 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 . . . .”
Thaler and Ahmed previously pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud and were sentenced on March 5, 2015, to serve 30 months and 42 months in prison, respectively.
The case was investigated by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, and prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Allee of the Southern District of New York.