Former Government Employee Faces Charges For Submitting False Tips Implicating Coworkers In Jan. 6 Capitol Protest

A former government employee identified as Miguel Eugenio Zapata has been charged with submitting false statements to law enforcement after allegedly sending anonymous tips to the FBI accusing his coworkers of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol protest. Zapata was arrested on Thursday in Virginia.

According to an affidavit by an FBI task force officer, Zapata sent at least seven anonymous tips to the FBI’s website alleging his coworkers’ involvement in the Capitol protest. The tips contained personal information about the coworkers including “their full names ages parts of their addresses current employers and security clearance levels.”

Investigators interviewed the coworkers mentioned in the first two false tips submitted on Feb. 11, 2021, and confirmed they were working in Virginia during the protest. Zapata is accused of submitting additional false tips on Feb. 16, 2021, Feb. 17, 2021, and April 11, 2021, accusing his former colleagues of accessing classified information to incite violence and assist anti-government groups in breaching the Capitol.

The FBI and some of the victims’ employers launched investigations into the alleged conduct based on the faulty information provided by Zapata. Prosecutors confirmed in court records that “None of the seven government employees and contractors were in Washington D.C. on January 6 or attacked the Capitol.”

Zapata’s actions prompted the FBI to investigate and interview many of his former coworkers. The charging documents do not specify which agency Zapata previously worked for but note that his anonymous email account conducted searches related to the intelligence community’s inspector general.