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Press Release

Former FBI Special Agent Robert Lustyik Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT LUSTYIK was sentenced today in White Plains federal court by U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti to 5 years in prison, to be served consecutively with a ten year federal sentence imposed on him previously in the District of Utah.  LUSTYIK was sentenced for his convictions arising out of a bribery scheme during which he sold confidential law enforcement information in exchange for cash and the promise of additional cash.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Decades of honest, hard work by thousands of FBI Special Agents dedicated to the pursuit of justice have earned the FBI a well-deserved reputation for public service and integrity.  Robert Lustyik’s criminal conduct, driven by greed and corruption, displayed  a disdain for the integrity for which the FBI stands.  Today, he was held accountable for putting his own greedy self-interest above the interests of the public he served.”    

According to the Complaint, the Indictment, court hearings, and today’s proceedings:

LUSTYIK was a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) who worked on the counterintelligence squad in the White Plains Resident Agency.  Johannes Thaler was LUSTYIK’s friend, and Rizve Ahmed was an acquaintance of Thaler.  From in or about September 2011 through March 2012, LUSTYIK, Thaler, and Ahmed engaged in a bribery scheme.  As part of the scheme, LUSTYIK and Thaler solicited payments of money from Ahmed, in exchange for LUSTYIK’s agreement to provide internal, confidential documents and other confidential information to which LUSTYIK had access by virtue of his position as an FBI Special Agent.  The documents and information pertained to a prominent citizen of Bangladesh (“Individual 1”).  Ahmed perceived himself on the opposite side of a political rivalry with Individual 1.  Ahmed sought, among other things, to obtain information about Individual 1, to locate Individual 1, and to harm Individual 1 and others associated with Individual 1.

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 text messages, LUSTYIK told 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 . . . .”

For another example, in or about late January 2012, LUSTYIK, upon learning that Ahmed was considering using a different source to obtain confidential information about Individual 1, texted Thaler, “I want to kill C . . . . I hung my ass out the window n we got nothing? . . . . Tell [Ahmed], I’ve got [Individual 1’s] number and I’m pissed. . . . I will put a wire on n get [Ahmed and his associates] to admit they want [a Bangladeshi political figure] offed n we sell it to Individual 1].”  LUSTYIK further texted Thaler, “So bottom line.  I need ten gs asap.  We gotta squeeze C.”

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LUSTYIK, 53, of Westchester County, pled guilty on December 23, 2014, to all five counts in the Indictment in which he is charged.  LUSTYIK pled guilty to (1) conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme; (2) soliciting bribes by a public official; (3) conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the United States and the FBI; (4) theft of government property; and (5) unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report.  In addition to his prison term, LUSTYIK is also sentenced to two years supervised release.

Thaler, 51, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, and Ahmed, 35, of Danbury, Connecticut, were each sentenced for bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud, to which each previously pled guilty.  Thaler was sentenced by Judge Briccetti to 30 months in prison, and Ahmed to 42 months in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, which conducted the investigation in this case.

The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Allee and Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods are in charge of the prosecution. 

Updated September 14, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-239