Federal Judge Imposes Reduced Sentence For Corrupt G-Man

Babak Broumand told a federal judge through tears, “I love this country,” as the former fed was sentenced to six years in prison

For two decades, FBI Special Agent Babak Broumand parachuted into global hotbeds of violence and corruption in pursuit of international criminals. On Monday, Broumand told a federal judge through tears, “I love this country,” as the former fed was sentenced to six years in prison for selling his access to top secret security intelligence to Armenian organized crime figures.

Standing in front of a judge in a tan prison jumpsuit, a heavy chain wrapped around his waist and wrists, ankles shackled over scuffed black Crocs, Broumand was at times both defiant and remorseful as he lauded his own 20-year career with the FBI, which is now concluding with a significantly lighter punishment than the decade behind bars sought by federal prosecutors. 

“I was very successful at what I did. I was able to save countless lives, changed the course of history for the United States,” Broumand told the court, ticking off his list of accolades and reports that “made it to the White House.” The CIA, he told the judge, tried to recruit him as an intelligence officer, before repeating, “I was very successful. I had tenacity.” 

“I love this country so much,” he said. “I’m ashamed to be here in front of you, in front of my family, in cuffs.” 

An Iranian immigrant, Broumand told the judge he fled persecution and that when his family refused to let him join the U.S. armed forces, he decided he’d be an FBI agent instead. Broumand went from G–man to an enemy of the state, prosecutors say, when he developed a friendship with Edgar Sargsyan in 2015, an Armenian underworld figure and career criminal with a law office on Rodeo Drive, even though it was revealed on the eve of the crooked FBI agent’s trial, he paid a colleague to take the state Bar exam in his name. 

The then-agent and the phony lawyer forged a bond in the smoky haze of the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills, a private cigar-smoking lounge where Sargysan had a membership, along with Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicolson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a slew of other Hollywood giants. Sargsyan used the “millions upon millions” he testified he’d stolen in a decade-long credit card scam to host fundraisers for politicians there, including President Barak Obama; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; L.A. City Councilman Kevin de Leon; and California Governor Gavin Newsom. Following LAMag’s report on the funds, in October Newsom donated all of the reputed Armenian gangster’s contributions to a legal aid charity. 

Gavin Newsom, who was Lt. Gov. at the time this photo was taken in 2016, with Edgar Sargsyan in Beverly Hills (Image: Defense exhibit 1001 in U.S. v Babak Broumand)

Soon, the two became a crime duo, traveling to Vegas for cocaine-fueled sex romps, lingering over ultra-exclusive L.A. dinners, as Broumand was staying in Beverly Hills five-star hotels on the presumed lawyer’s dime.

“I did not know he was involved in criminal activity at that time,” Broumand said of Sargsyan at Monday’s sentencing.

But Sargsyan testified that he had asked Broumand in Las Vegas if he was willing to “do a little something on the side.” Broumand said he was game. His first payment, prosecutors say, came after he queried Sargsyan’s name and learned that he was the subject of an FBI Eurasian Crime Task Force Organization investigation into a massive identity theft scheme the Armenian Mafia was running that stole the names of J-1 visa holders who left the US to open credit cards, running up millions in debt.

“He provided protection to someone involved in organized crime,” Assistant United States Attorney Juan Rodriguez told the judge, urging a sentence of more than a decade in prison for Broumand. “His crimes were serious, they spanned years, and seriously undermined the public trust.” 

U.S. District Court Justice Gary Klausner cited a letter written on Broumand’s behalf by a retired top intel official Frank Montoya Jr., who asked the court to show the agent mercy saying he worked in “tough and dangerous places with little to protect him but his own wits.” This move apparently worked, as Klausner handed down a 10-year federal sentence for another dirty fed, Homeland Security Investigations Agent Felix Cisneros, who was also convicted on charges of secretly working for Sargsyan. 

Broumand was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and to forfeit $132,309 linked to his criminal activity to the government. Nevertheless, he was all smiles at Klausner’s sentence as he twisted his chained body toward his wife to blow her a hands-free kiss. 

His attorney, Steven Gruel, said he was also pleased with the sentence. “The loudest voice in the court today was Frank Montoya’s,” he said.

LAMag reached out to Montoya to ask why he defended a convicted felon who betrayed his badge. He said he wrote the letter “for an old friend” who “screwed up and accepted responsibility for his actions.” Yet on Monday at his sentencing, Broumand continued to insist he was working Sargsyan as a human source, a notion that was debunked by prosecutors and the phony lawyer’s own testimony. 

Montoya said the sentence sends a message that Broumand, “still crossed the line, and now he has to pay for it.”

At the time of his crimes, Broumand was a supervisor in the San Francisco field office overseeing other agents in HUMINT, the FBI section responsible for developing human sources to prevent terrorism. Prosecutors say Broumand “devised a scheme” to document Sargsyan as a confidential informant to justify his suspicious queries about various Armenian crime figures. 

Broumand knew these queries would raise eyebrows in the bureau, so he told Sargsyan if he was ever questioned, he should say he was “providing intelligence” on Armenian crime lords. To bolster that backstory, prosecutors say, Broumand flew from Oakland to Los Angeles on January 30, 2015, to meet with agents targeting his Armenian friends. He took an Uber Black to the FBI field office on Wilshire Boulevard, paid for by the taxpayer, where in the cafeteria Special Agent Stephen Kusin was waiting. 

Kusin was immediately struck by Broumand’s cocksure swagger and mobster-wannabe attire “including a bracelet and cuff links,” a guy who the task force agent recalled, “did not look like an FBI agent.”  Broumand talked about his source but balked when Kusin pressed for a meeting with Sargsyan and the conversation ended.  

Outside, Sargsyan was waiting behind the wheel of a Bentley. Broumand, sweaty and nervous, climbed into the passenger seat, the lawyer told investigators, and blurted: “We barely got away with that one.” Within a matter of months, Sargsyan was indeed talking to the FBI – about Broumand, Cisneros and a third dirty cop on the fake lawyer’s payroll, John Saro Balian, a former detective for the Glendale Police Department. 

Sargsyan is slated to be sentenced this month.  

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.