Acting U.S. attorney charges former Brooklyn ADA with illegal wiretapping
A former assistant district attorney from Brooklyn was charged with wiretapping a fellow assistant district attorney and an NYPD detective in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday.
Tara Lenich, deputy chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau in the Brooklyn DA’s office before she was fired last year, was formally charged with forging judges’ signatures to illegally listen in on cellphone conversations of Detective Jarrett Lemieux and fellow prosecutor Stephanie Rosenfeld-Vais.
“Tara Lenich violated her duty to the public when she engaged in a long-running scheme to forge judicial documents in order to illegally wiretap telephones,” stated Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Rohde. “Lenich’s prosecution reflects the office’s commitment to protecting the public from the misuse of law enforcement tools, particularly by those entrusted to use those tools in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold.”
Lenich was scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon on Monday afternoon.
Court documents allege that Lenich forged signatures of state Supreme Court judges by copying and pasting them from legitimate sources to her illicit judicial orders. This allegedly went on from June 2015 to November 2016, as Lenich is accused of forging 24 documents in order to tap a pair of cell phones, as well as retrieve text messages.
In order to avoid detection, court papers say that Lenich lied to other assistant district attorneys and told them that the wiretaps were part of a confidential investigation that she was conducting.
Lenich allegedly created and submitted several unlawful grand jury subpoenas as well between June 2015 and November 2016.
She has officially been charged with two counts of illegal interception of communications.
“In this case, as alleged, Lenich’s illegal wiretapping scheme demonstrates an abuse of power that won’t be tolerated within our criminal justice system,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr., with the FBI, New York Field Office. “Unfortunately, sometimes those close to the law stray far from the truth. As demonstrated today, however, everyone is expected to play by the rules. For this we’ll make no exceptions.”
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