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Home / federal

Former federal agent convicted in LA of bribery, money laundering charges

A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations convicted by a Los Angeles federal jury Tuesday of accepting cash payments and other benefits linked to organized crime, including taking official action aimed at helping two foreign nationals illegally enter the United States.

Felix Cisneros Jr., 48, of Murrieta, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, one count of bribery, 26 counts of money laundering and two counts of filing a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cisneros was taken into federal custody after the verdict was read.

Prosecutors said that over an 18-month period that started in September 2015, Cisneros accepted cash, checks, private jet travel, luxury hotel stays, meals and other items from a person linked to an unidentified criminal organization.

Cisneros received $100,000 in checks and gifts from the person in 2015 and 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said he accepted the cash and other bribes while working as a special agent with HSI, an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In exchange for the bribes, Cisneros took actions including:

— accessing a DHS database to alter information about a German national;

— obtaining an official DHS letter to allow the parole of the organized crime figure’s brother-in-law in the United States from Mexico, then providing updates about the brother-in-law’s asylum application; and

— collecting information on a criminal associate and providing that person with information about a law enforcement investigation.

Cisneros also underreported his income on his federal income tax returns by at least $20,000 for the year 2015 and at least $73,404 for the year 2016, the Los Angeles federal jury found.

Sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 1. The conspiracy charge carries a sentence of up to five years in federal prison, the bribery count carries a sentence of up to 15 years, each money laundering charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, and each tax count carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in federal prison.

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