Felix Cisneros convicted of corruption related to Lev Dermen
A former Homeland Security Investigations agent who prosecutors say was “financially cut off” from the crime boss he helped helped has been sentenced to about 10 years in prison for a bribery scheme with a corrupt lawyer.
Felix J. Cisneros48, avoided the prosecutors’ request for an additional two-year sentence before the US District Judge R. Gary Klausner 121 months instead of the 145 months they wanted. A jury in May sentenced Cisneros of 30 felonies, including conspiracy to bribe himself as a public official, and is currently incarcerated in Los Angeles.
Conviction by a US Attorney’s Office memorandum said the recommended sentence of about 12 years, which was on the high end of US Sentencing Commission guidelines, was due to Cisneros’ long-term association with Levon Termendzhyan and his family.”
“Rather than building on that strong family foundation and excellent work ethic, the defendant turned to a life of crime in a way that betrayed public confidence in law enforcement,” he said 11-page note.
Klausner, 2002 George W Bush Appointment who directed the trial of Cisneros and handles a related case involving a retired FBI special agent Babak Broomandrejected the recommendation, which Cisneros’ lawyer, George Mgdesyansaid in his memo “is completely exaggerated and just defies logic.”
Still, the judge wasn’t nearly as lenient as Mgdesyan’s 41-month recommendation, imposing a 10-year, one-month sentence consisting of 85 months for conspiracy to bribe a public official, 121 months for bribery of a public official and 27 counts of money laundering, and 36 months for two counts of false tax returns being served concurrently.
The sentencing follows Klausner rejecting a new trial motion filed by Mgdesyan over a new revelation that a key witness in the Cisneros trial, Edgar Sargasyan, fraudulently acquired from the California Bar Association by paying someone to sit the exam for them. Sargasyan told federal agents just before the trial began of Broumand, a longtime FBI agent and close associate of Termendzhyan, who was convicted in October for helping Sargsyan obtain confidential legal information. The fraud was not known when he testified against Cisneros, but Klausner dismissed Mgdesyan’s argument that it was so unfair that it would justify a new trial against Cisneros.
“The jury already knew that ES [Sargasyan] is a criminal who used deception and bribery to achieve his goals,” Klausner wrote Oct. 18 order.
ex-@HSI_HQ Agent Felix Cisneros Jr.’s attorney also publicly filed a copy of the handwritten notes @USAO_LosAngeles gave him along with the letter. They say the attorney (whose license is suspended due to felony convictions) only recently told them about this epic scam scheme. pic.twitter.com/w1eM3i3zIp
—Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) September 24, 2022
Cisneros was first criminally charged in 2017 and eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to help a foreign criminal enter the United States, falsifying records and making a false statement. It referred to Cisneros’ relationship with Termendzhyan, and the criminal he helped into the country with his federal credentials was an associate of Termendzhyan, a biodiesel businessman from Los Angeles who has been described by the US Department of Justice as an Armenian organized crime boss became.
Also known as Lew Aslan DermenTermendzhyan is awaiting sentencing in a federal court in Utah after a jury sentenced him in March 2020 by a $1 billion renewable fuel tax fraud scheme linked to a Mormon fundamentalist polygamist group.
The career-ending case landed Cisneros in prison for a year and a day, but as prosecutors explained in their memo, it didn’t get him out of Termendzhyan.
After leaving prison, Cisneros took a job at an energy company owned by Termendzhyan’s brother and sharing an address in the city of Commerce near Los Angeles with Termendzhyan’s Noil Energy Group Inc., which was at the center of his scam scheme with Washakie Renewable Energy and its Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Kingstonand his brother Isaiah Kingston, its chief financial officer. Both have pleaded guilty to the same fraud count in which a jury convicted Termendzhyan.
Cisneros’ relationship with Termendzhyan is complicated, court documents show. Prosecutors say he was “pushed away from Termendzhyan and financially cut off” when he demanded money from Sargasyan in the fall of 2015.
Cisneros “was living well above his means and had thousands of dollars in credit card bills each month,” the memo from assistant U.S. attorneys said Ruth C Pinkel, Michael J Morse and Juan M. Rodriguez.
Sargasyan has not disappointed him: prosecutors say he “richly rewarded” the federal agent with “at least $40,000 in cash and over $93,000 in payments directly to credit card companies, mortgage companies, the federal savings plan (to repay the defendant’s TSP). loan) and to the defendant’s wife.”
But Cisneros’ ties to Termendzhyan were not severed, prosecutors say is evidenced by his post-custodial work at Termendzhyan’s brother’s company. Sargsyan also had close ties to Termendzhyan, and he used both Cisneros and Broumand to try to fend off law enforcement investigations.
“During the most egregious conduct, the defendant received a parole letter, which is used by law enforcement to pick up an otherwise ineligible alien for law enforcement under false pretenses,” prosecutors said in the memo. “The Defendant represented to several law enforcement officials, including the then acting Special Agent in Charge, that the Defendant attempted to admit the foreign national because the foreign national would assist DHS; Defendant has identified itself as the agent responsible for filing.”
Another law enforcement official linked to the corruption, John Saro Baliana former police officer in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles County, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2019 after convicting himself of bribery, obstruction and false testimony related to inside information he provided to the Mexican mafia and his lying to federal agents pleaded guilty to his ties to the mafia and to organized crime linked to the Armenian mafia.
Sargasyan testified at Cisneros’ trial that Balian, Cisneros and Broumand flew to Las Vegas on his private jet in 2016 and he “paid for everyone” because they were “law enforcement officers,” court documents said. In addition, Sargasyan testified that Balian, Ciseneros, and Broumand visited him in May 2016 at the Grand Havana Room, a members-only cigar lounge in Beverly Hills, to celebrate his passing the California bar exam.
That’s the exam Sargasyan later told federal agents he paid someone to take for him. His license to practice law was previously suspended after he pleaded guilty to five federal felonies in July 2020. He is not in custody and has not been convicted.
(Images: US Attorney’s Office exhibit and government booking photo)
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https://lawandcrime.com/federal-court/corrupt-fed-who-helped-armenian-crime-boss-sentenced-after-judge-rejects-new-trial-bid-over-lawyers-bar-exam-fraud/ Felix Cisneros convicted of corruption related to Lev Dermen