Former Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Sentenced for Illegal Wiretapping Scheme
Tara Lenich Fabricated Judicial Orders and Forged Judges’ Signatures to Illegally Monitor Telephone Conversations and Text Messages
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Tara Lenich, a former supervisory Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office (KCDA), was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II to a year and one day in prison on each of the two counts, to be served concurrently, after having pled guilty on April 3, 2017 to two counts of illegally intercepting oral and electronic communications occurring over two cellular telephones.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentence.
According to court filings and facts presented at the sentencing hearing, for nearly 18 months between approximately June 2015 and November 2016, Lenich illegally listened to phone conversations and viewed text messages sent to and from two cellular telephones. As part of her illegal conduct, she created fraudulent judicial orders and forged the signatures of multiple New York State judges onto judicial orders that purportedly authorized the KCDA to intercept communications occurring over the two cellular telephones. Lenich then misappropriated KCDA equipment to intercept, monitor, and record the communications to and from the two cellular telephones. In furtherance of her scheme, Lenich also created fraudulent search warrants, which she then used to obtain unlawfully intercepted text messages sent to and from the two cellular telephones. To conceal her scheme, Lenich lied to her colleagues at the KCDA, telling them that she was conducting a highly sensitive, confidential criminal investigation.
“Former Assistant District Attorney Lenich violated her duty to the public as a prosecutor when she engaged in her long-running illegal scheme,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The victims of her scheme include the individuals whose privacy rights she violated by listening to and reading their private communications, the state court judges whose signatures she forged in order to perpetrate her scheme, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office whose reputation of integrity she damaged, and the public whose trust she betrayed. Today’s sentencing serves as a reminder that no one is above the law.” Mr. Donoghue expressed his appreciation to the KCDA for its cooperation.
“Without the appropriate legal authority to intercept and access communications, Lenich unlawfully listened in on personal conversations between her victims, evading the due process of law all public officials are expected to uphold,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “It’s our hope today’s sentencing will send a strong message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this egregious abuse of power.”
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Cruz Melendez and Robert Polemeni are in charge of the prosecution.
New York, NY
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-154 (WFK)