Former HSI agent convicted of tipping off informant, stealing funds and filing false tax returns
CHICAGO - A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations — a criminal investigative unit within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — was convicted on tax, structuring and concealment offenses on Friday.
Anthony Sabaini, 41, of Naperville, was convicted on one count of structuring, one count of willfully engaging in a scheme to conceal a material fact in a matter within the jurisdiction of DHS and five counts of willfully filing a false federal tax return.
According to prosecutors, Sabaini was assigned to HSI's field office in Oakbrook Terrace and maintained a corrupt relationship with an HSI confidential informant. Sabaini tipped off the informant to sensitive law enforcement investigations and protected the informant from other federal law enforcement investigations conducted by the FBI and DEA.
In exchange for protection, the informant paid Sabaini at least $50,000.
Sabaini also stole money from HSI that was earmarked for investigative activity and stole cash from drug dealers.
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Sabaini deposited more than $250,000 in cash into a bank account for which he was the sole signatory, prosecutors said.
He made the deposits through more than 162 transactions, with the amount of each being less than $10,000.
The deposits were structured in an effort to evade federal reporting rules, which require financial institutions to notify the U.S. Department of the Treasury about transactions of more than $10,000.
Sabaini also lied in official HSI memoranda in 2017 and 2018 to protect his corrupt relationship with the informant.
In the memoranda, Sabaini knowingly covered up material facts, including that the informant was a target of ongoing criminal investigations conducted by other agencies. He also covered up that the informant had recently engaged in unauthorized criminal conduct that Sabaini knew would have affected his suitability as a paid HSI informant.
Sabaini also willfully filed false federal tax returns that underreported his total income.
Sabaini's partner, Fernando Zambrano, was also convicted by a jury in 2021 for lying to investigators during the Sabaini probe, prosecutors said.
Zambrano was a Palos Height police officer who was assigned to an HSI task force. He was sentenced to three months in federal prison.