By Katina Caraganis
A Harvard man who was instrumental in the construction of a football field near the Ayer-Shirley Middle School has been indicted by a Utah grand jury on 11 charges alleging he schemed to derail a federal investigation into the conduct of an associate.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice, an investigation into Michael J. Taylor of Harvard alleges that Taylor learned of a potential federal investigation and he, his business and others committed fraud in their awarding of a contract for the Department of Defense.
Taylor, along with former FBI special agent Robert G. Lustyik of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and Johannes W. Thaler of New Fairfield, Conn., were all indicted on one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice, and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.
Taylor is the principal of Boston-based American International Security Corp.
The statement alleges that after hearing of the investigation, Taylor began to offer "things of value" to Lustyik Jr.
In a statement released by the Department of Justice, Lustyik allegedly used his position as an FBI agent to "stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts."
According to the indictment, Lustyik was an FBI special agent until September of this year, and he was assigned to counterintelligence in New York. The three defendants also allegedly had a business relationship from at least June 2011, according to the indictment.
Through the business relationship, the three allegedly would pursue contracts for security services and electric power and energy development overseas in the Middle East and Africa.
The indictment alleges that in September 2011, Taylor learned of a potential federal investigation into whether he and his business partners "committed fraud in the award and performance of a contract" with the Department of Defense.
The indictment alleges that Taylor began to offer Lustyik $200,000 in cash, money for the medical expenses of his minor child and the proceeds from several contracts he anticipated to come to light if Lustyik agreed to use his position to impede the investigation, which began in Utah.
Thaler, who knew Lustyik since childhood, allegedly acted as the conduit between the two, "passing information and things of value," according to the statement.
The indictment alleges Lustyik designated Taylor as an FBI confidential source and began "texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Taylor and attempting to interview potential witnesses and targets in the Utah investigation."
The statement goes on to say that Lustyik wrote to Taylor that "he was going to interview one of Taylor's co-defendants and 'blow the doors off this thing.'"
Lustyik also allegedly assured Taylor that "he would not stop in his 'attempt to sway this your way.'"
Both Taylor and Lustyik were previously arrested on prior criminal complaints, and Thaler was expected to turn himself in.
Lustyik received a $2 million bond but Taylor remains in custody pending trial.
If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud charges, 10 years on the obstruction of justice charges and five years on the obstruction of an agency proceeding.
Additionally, each carries a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The indictment also asks that all proceeds from the scheme be forfeited.
A woman answering the phone at Taylor's Boston-based business declined to comment Monday. She referred all comment to Taylor's attorney, who did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon.
Shirley Selectmen Chair Andy Deveau said he does not know Taylor personally but said there is a football field near the middle school named after Taylor and it was built at no cost to the town or the school district.