It reads like a made-for-TV movie: An alleged affair. A murder plot with international implications. An attempt to bribe a federal agent.
John Patrick Cotter was charged with attempted bribery this week after giving a Department of Homeland Security agent $10,000 in exchange for a promise that a man suspected of having an affair with his friend’s wife would be deported to Russia, according to court records.
Cotter’s arrest is apparently related to the FBI’s investigation at a stately home at 6510 New Market Way in North Raleigh on Wednesday evening. The property, valued at nearly $5 million, is owned by Leonid and Tatyana Teyf, according to Wake County property records.
Leonid Teyf believed that his wife, Tatyana, had an affair with their former housekeeper’s son, court documents show. The housekeeper, her husband and her son lived with the Teyfs.
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Teyf told a “confidential” source starting in February that he wanted to pay someone to get the son to admit to the alleged affair and then kill him, according to the FBI. The plan eventually evolved into one that involved getting the son sent back to Russia, where he would likely be killed.
In March, the FBI found the son, identified only by initials in court documents, in Cleveland, Ohio. Agents “offered protection and sought his cooperation,” but the man declined, records show.
Cotter, described by the FBI as “a long-time friend and business partner with Teyf,” met twice with a Department of Homeland Security agent in Atlanta last spring, according to records. Cotter reportedly told the agent that the housekeeper’s son was involved in a “fraudulent marriage.”
Cotter and Teyf also met with a Department of Homeland Security agent at a North Raleigh restaurant in May, according to court records. Cotter, acting as an interpreter for Teyf, suggested that Teyf “could provide a boat, vehicle or cash as an incentive” to investigate the housekeeper’s son.
Cotter and Teyf agreed to give the agent $25,000, with a down payment of $10,000, according to the FBI.
The agent met with Cotter and Teyf a few other times, records show — at a tavern and a brewery in Cary and a Sheetz store in Morrisville. The FBI recorded those meetings, court papers said.
Records were filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which includes Wake County.
The documents don’t reveal Cotter’s age or where he lives.