The Criminal Division is the largest division in the office. Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) investigate and prosecute cases arising from a vast array of criminal activity. The Criminal Division has assumed new responsibilities due to the fight against terrorism. In this area, the mandate is to prevent injuries, death and destruction first and to prosecute second. The Criminal Division is divided into several sections.
Violent Crimes Section
This section prosecutes crimes such as bank robbery, car jacking, kidnapping, civil rights and hate crimes violations, and immigration offenses. The section handles a large number of cases and matters involving federal firearms violations. Assistants in this section prosecute offenses such as felon in possession of firearms, illegal aliens in possession of firearms, arson, illegal trafficking in firearms, and offenses involving possession of other illegal weapons and explosives. The AUSAs in this section also serve as the leadership for Project Safe Neighborhoods and the initiatives under its umbrella.
White Collar Section - Public Corruption and Government Fraud
This section is responsible for prosecuting a wide range of complex cases, including public corruption, health care fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and mail and wire fraud. Public corruption is one of the district's highest priorities. The United States Attorney must contribute to the district's stability by rigorously prosecuting fraud and public corruption so that innocent persons do not suffer devastating financial losses and so that public confidence in financial institutions and in government is maintained and justified. This section is also charged with the expanding prosecution of computer crimes, particularly those involving child pornography. This district has also placed a high priority on computer crimes, especially any threatening electrical power systems, emergency services, telecommunications, gas/oil storage and transportation, the continuity of government services, the continuity and integrity of financial institutions, and the water supply. In addition to computer crime, this section prosecutes a variety of other federal violations including mail and wire fraud, theft, passport or other document fraud, postal crimes, social security fraud, telemarketing fraud, check fraud, commercial loan fraud, counterfeit negotiable instruments, mortgage fraud, and check kiting. In the area of mortgage fraud, the district has successfully prosecuted many complex, sophisticated schemes and has obtained a substantial number of guilty pleas and convictions.
Narcotics and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) are the United States' primary weapons against the highest level drug-trafficking organizations operating within the United States, importing drugs into the United States, or laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts was placed into one of 13 OCDETF regions based on geographic proximity.
Asset Forfeiture Unit
The primary function of the Asset Forfeiture Unit is to use the federal forfeiture laws to disrupt and deter criminal activity, dismantle criminal enterprises and to separate criminals and their associates from their ill-gotten gains. AUSAs and support staff in this unit pursue all civil forfeiture matters and cases and assist Criminal Division AUSAs with forfeiture-related issues in criminal prosecutions. Forfeited assets are used to fund federal, state, and local law enforcement activities to the extent permitted by federal law and, similarly, in appropriate cases, to provide full or partial restitution to victims of criminal activity.