A retired assistant director of the FBI who once led the bureau’s Boston office grew emotional and fought back tears in federal court Tuesday as he was fined for violating ethics laws.
“I lost something I valued the most — my reputation,” said Kenneth W. Kaiser, 57, of Hopkinton, who said the federal justice department he served for 27 years — the department his father served for 35 years — put its own “spin” on his case in order to persecute him.
Kaiser, who was the special agent in charge of the Boston bureau from 2003 to 2006, pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor violation of a federal ethics law that prohibits senior executive branch officials from making professional contact with the agency that employed them for one year after leaving government service.
US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV fined Kaiser $10,000, but did not sentence him to any prison time. Kaiser had earlier agreed to pay a $15,000 fine in an agreement with prosecutors, but Saylor lowered the penalty, saying Kaiser’s crime appeared to be more technical than deliberate. “This statute does exist for a reason,” Saylor said, but added, “I think [the case] really goes more to the appearance of impropriety . . . than any actual impropriety, or misuse, or conduct.”
Authorities said that Kaiser began contacting former FBI colleagues on behalf of a company he was hired by in the months after his July 3, 2009 retirement, in relation to an FBI investigation into the company’s former executives. He also asked an FBI employee about the employee’s interest in the company’s products. The company, LocatePlus, sells products and databases for investigators.
Authorities said Kaiser also contacted the FBI on behalf of a corporate executive from Gloucester who had received a threatening letter in the mail. Kaiser was investigated by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.
Anthony Fuller, of Collora LLP, Kaiser’s attorney, told Saylor on Tuesday that Kaiser was already shamed by the case. He said the retired FBI agent dedicated decades to the agency, as did his father. His daughter is studying nursing, and his son is in the US Army.
He also said Kaiser’s career in law enforcement stretched from serving as assistant director of the criminal investigative division to investigating kidnappings. He noted that Kaiser had put his life on the line in several shootouts.
“This is not your typical case that you see in this courthouse, this is not your typical defendant,” Fuller said.