Former FBI agent charged in military contract bribery case
SALT LAKE CITY — A former FBI agent faces federal charges for allegedly trying to derail a Utah-initiated investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative government security and energy contracts.
A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an 11-count indictment against Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass.; and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn. Each is charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.
Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off a criminal investigation into Taylor, owner of Boston-based American International Security Corp., according to the indictment. Authorities say the former agent used Thaler, a childhood friend, as a go-between.
The indictment charges that Taylor, a former Green Beret, offered Lustyik $200,000 in cash, money purportedly for the medical expenses of Lustyik’s minor child, and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.
In hearing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City last month, a federal prosecutor quoted Taylor telling Lustyik in a message, "If they don't put me in jail, I'll make you filthy, stinkin' rich."
According to the indictment, Lustyik, a 20-year FBI veteran, was assigned to counterintelligence work in White Plains, N.Y., until September 2012. The indictment states that from at least June 2011, the three men had a business relationship pursuing contracts for security services, electric power and energy development in the Middle East and Africa.
In September 2011, Taylor learned of a Utah-based federal criminal investigation into whether Taylor, his business and others bribed an Army officer to obtain a $54 million military training contract in Afghanistan.
Taylor and Christopher Harris, of St. George, were charged in a 72-count indictment in August with bribing a public official, accepting of a bribe by public official, money laundering and wire fraud. Taylor remains in jail in Utah pending trail.
Court records say it was Harris’ banking habits in St. George that opened the case for federal investigators three years ago.
Harris, who worked for Taylor as a manager in Afghanistan, was paid about $17.4 million by American International, according to court records. He tried to hide the money by structuring his transactions at America First Credit Union in St. George so he wouldn't be detected by the bank's warning mechanisms, the indictment states.
Lustyik impeded the investigation by designating Taylor as an FBI confidential source and texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Taylor, according to the indictment. He also interviewed witnesses and potential targets in the Utah investigation, authorities say.
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