by Alex Lloyd Gross
When Behzad Sabagh, a/k/a “Ben Sabagh,” 39, of Philadelphia, PA, was arrested and eventually convicted of bribing a sheriff’s office employee. He completed his court ordered sentence and that should have been the end of it. It was not.
Officials said that Sabagh is alleged to have sent text messages to another defendant in that case, who agreed to testify against him . He threatened to rape the victims wife while he was in prison and he also is alleged to have threatened to have the victim raped while in prison, officials said. He is also accused of threatening their children. Sabagh was charged by indictment today, July 9 2021 with witness tampering and retaliating against a witness. If convicted, he could spend a maximum possible sentence of up to 200 years in prison, a $2,500,000 fine, a $1,000 special assessment, and restitution.
“Witness intimidation undermines the entire criminal justice system and will be dealt with swiftly and severely,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Here, Sabagh allegedly threatened a witness in a most contemptible way, after his conviction and sentence had been served as though his actions would have no consequences. These charges demonstrate that he is absolutely wrong.”
“Our justice system depends on witnesses truthfully testifying as to what they know,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Retaliating against a cooperating witness sends a chilling message both to that person and the community at large. Bottom line: ensuring the safety of federal witnesses both before and after a prosecution is paramount, and the FBI takes Sabagh’s alleged acts extremely seriously.”