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FBI agent reveals his twelve different identities working undercover

June 5, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
FBI agent reveals his twelve different identities working undercover

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FBI agent Marc Ruskin trafficked heroin, pedaled stolen gems, and money laundered while working for the good guys.

As an FBI agent working undercover, Ruskin had approximately 12 different identities, frequently managing three at a time. The story of these various identities is revealed in his memoir “The Pretender.”

The wiry Ruskin, who is 63 and practices criminal law, holds at least one trapping from his FBI past. Recently, in Manhattan, he had a gun covertly holstered beneath his waistband.

During his 27 years working as a fed, Ruskin told the New York Post how he was frequently scared for his life. As he remembers, “I hung out with guys who kill undercovers.”

Among the criminals he partnered up with: Mahmoud, a violent Middle Easterner who, during the 1990s, dealt drivers licenses, Social Security cards, and license plates obtained from corrupt clerks working in government positions in Manhattan, Yonkers and The Bronx.

After cold-calling, Mahmoud using the alias Alex Perez, a midlevel criminal with a ponytail and a shady history in Miami, Ruskin registered a car, garnered trust and infiltrated his circle.

Ruskin is ths author of The Pretender: My Life Undercover for the FBI

He brought many undercovers to Mahmoud’s travel agency — which was a front in The Bronx. They pretended to be drug lords and murderers, paying thousands of dollars for new IDs and collecting evidence. As Alex, Ruskin met other false-ID dealers. One sold counterfeit $50 bills. Alex made the purchase and soon after police busted them on East Houston Street.

During one meeting with Mahmoud, a novice FBI agent misremembered Ruskin’s undercover alias. Mahmoud, backed by bodyguards, grew suspicious, became furious, and yelled out orders in Arabic.

Naturally paranoid, Ruskin was worried that “the guards had been told to close the gates in front and bring a van so they could kill us and take the bodies.” Then the guy came back with documents. “I told [the newbie agent] to wait outside, turned to Mahmoud and said, ‘Let’s charge this asshole top price.’ Mahmoud smiled. I was speaking his language.”

Soon after, Mahmoud and 49 others were apprehended on fraud, counterfeiting, and bribery of public officials charges.

As Ruskin’s career advanced, so did the level of criminal he represented. Playing a small role in an investigation of members of the Genovese crime family in 2004, he was “Daniel Martinez,” an international jewel robber who wore stylish suits.

Ruskin gave hot diamonds to be moved on 47th Street and cash to be laundered by a restaurateur with ties to the Mafia.

Ruskin admitted to being scared for much of that job. One close call occurred during dinner at a mobbed-up restaurant in Queens. “We were having a good time,” Ruskin stated. “I went to the men’s room. A guy there patted me down.” It happened to be one of the unique instances in which Ruskin was not wearing a wire.

After 9/11, Ruskin began investigating traitorous Americans selling classified information — including recipes for dirty bombs — to other governments. One high-profile purchase-and-bust targeted a rogue weapons consultant, Roy Lynn Oakley, who offered rods used to enhance uranium for nuclear weapons.

Impersonating Jean-Marc, a French intelligence officer, Ruskin arranged a $200,000 deal. At the transaction, Ruskin worried for his life — but not for the common reasons. “This was my first time buying something that could have been radioactive, leaving me vulnerable to leukemia or cancer,” he added.

After trading money for goods, followed by 30 minutes of incriminating discussion, Ruskin concluded the conversation by saying” “I salute you for helping my country.”

That was the sign. “A SWAT team raced out and took [Oakley] down,” Ruskin recalled.

At 58, a year over mandatory retirement, Ruskin begrudgingly left his job with the FBI. “Given a choice,” he said, “I would continue indefinitely and go to undercover meets with a walker.”

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