Criminal Division

Asset Forfeiture Section | Criminal Appeals Section | Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section | Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section | General Crimes Section | Major Frauds Section | National Security Section | Organized Crime and Drug Task Force Section | Environmental Crimes Section | Riverside Branch Office | Santa Ana Branch Office | Violent and Organized Crimes Section

Organizational Chart of Criminal Division

The Criminal Division consists of approximately 190 Assistant United States Attorneys and 70 support staff. The Division, based in Los Angeles with branch offices in Riverside and Santa Ana, is responsible for prosecuting federal criminal cases in the Central District of California. AUSAs in the Criminal Division advise federal law enforcement agents on criminal investigations, present criminal cases to the grand jury, try criminal cases before the United States District Court, and represent the United States in criminal appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Criminal Division prosecutes federal criminal cases in the Central District of California.  AUSAs in the Criminal Division advise federal law enforcement agents on criminal investigations, present criminal cases to the grand jury, try criminal cases before the United States District Court, and represent the United States in criminal appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.                    

The USAO’s prosecution priorities include national security, violent crimes (including gun crimes, criminal gang violence, and other violent organized crime), public corruption, crimes against children, organized drug trafficking, corporate fraud, cyber-crime, intellectual property crimes, immigration crimes, and civil rights.  

As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, DOJ, of which the USAO is a part, has refocused its efforts to prevent terrorist crimes before they occur and to bring those who participate in the planning and execution of such crimes to justice.  This is the first priority of both DOJ and the USAO.  AUSAs in the Criminal Division work closely with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other members of the Central District’s four Joint Terrorism Task Forces to investigate suspected terrorists and bring criminal charges when warranted.

The prosecution of federal offenses involving violence, including violent crimes committed by organized groups such as street gangs, is also a priority.  Two vehicles for accomplishing this task are Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and the Anti-Gang Initiative, both of which seek to coordinate efforts by federal law enforcement, local law enforcement, and community groups to counter criminal gun use, particularly gun use by violent criminal gangs.  As part of PSN and the Anti-Gang Initiative, AUSAs in the Criminal Division work with agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to develop criminal cases against the leaders of organized street gangs responsible for much of the Central District’s gun violence.  In these and other cases involving violent organized crime, AUSAs are often involved in long-term investigations that use undercover agents, wire-taps, surveillance, and other covert investigation tactics to develop racketeering (RICO) cases based on various violent offenses.  Other targets of the USAO’s efforts to reduce violent organized crime include large-scale organized crime groups operating in the Central District and elsewhere.  The USAO also prosecutes prison murders and assaults, bank robberies, and attacks on federal officers.

Protecting the integrity of public government through the prosecution of public corruption is another priority.  The USAO investigates and prosecutes both public officials who seek to use their positions for private benefit and those who seek to corrupt them.  These cases involve a number of different offenses, including honest services mail and wire fraud, bribery, theft of government property, and tax violations.  

Federal offenses involving criminal acts against children comprise another prosecution priority.  The Project Safe Childhood (PSC) intiative, which uses PSN as a model, seeks to coordinate federal, local, and community-based efforts to combat crimes against children.  In conjunction with this effort, the USAO works with FBI agents and local law enforcement on task forces that conduct undercover operations to detect and apprehend producers and distributors of child pornography, as well as individuals who travel within and outside the United States to engage in sexual acts with minors.
The USAO vigorously enforces federal laws relating to drug trafficking.  The USAO works as part of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that focuses on investigations directed against high-level national and international trafficking cartels, as well as local gangs and distributors that support the business of these cartels.  Los Angeles also has been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).  A special HIDTA task force investigates and prosecutes narcotics cases in coordination with state and local agencies.

Effective and timely prosecution of corporate fraud, particularly crimes that undermine the trust of the investing community, is another priority of the USAO.  Cases involving falsification of corporate financial information, self-dealing by corporate insiders, and obstruction of justice, perjury, witness tampering, or other obstructive behavior in connection with investigations of these crimes, receive significant scrutiny.  Other white-collar crime priorities include health care fraud, defense contractor/ procurement fraud, and tax evasion. The USAO also prosecutes fraud and corruption in connection with government program activities, as well as environmental crimes, credit card fraud, financial institution fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.

Cyber-crime, including both cyber-based attacks on the nation’s electronic infrastructure and economic crimes committed using computers, and intellectual property crimes, including theft of copyrighted works such as software, movies and CDs, are also a USAO priority.  The Central District of California is home to a significant high-tech industry, sensitive government computer installations, and the motion picture and recording industries.  Protecting the security of these activities is an office priority, with particular emphasis on investigating and prosecuting sophisticated attacks on computer systems, online auction frauds, and intellectual property offenses.

The USAO also prioritizes the prosecution of immigration crimes, with an emphasis on prosecuting criminal gang members and other violent criminals who are illegally in the country.  The USAO also works closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to investigate and prosecute large scale alien smuggling organizations, and with both ICE and other government agencies to prosecute cases involving false passports and immigration documents.

Finally, the USAO seeks to uphold the civil rights of all individuals through enforcement of civil rights laws.  Particular areas of emphasis include: hate crimes, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, and excessive uses of force by law enforcement officers.

AUSAs new to the Criminal Division, including those hired for the Riverside and Santa Ana branch offices, are initially assigned to the General Crimes section, where they receive training in the handling of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions. Upon completion of their tenure in the General Crimes Section, AUSAs hired for the branch offices are assigned there, and AUSAs remaining in Los Angeles are assigned to one of the Criminal Division’s senior sections. Assignments to the senior sections are based primarily on the USAO’s staffing needs at the time. The senior sections are: Asset Forfeiture; Criminal Appeals; Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes; Public Corruption and Civil Rights; Major Frauds; National Security; OCDETF; Public Integrity and Environmental Crimes; and Violent and Organized Crime.

All AUSAs, regardless of the section, have the opportunity to handle a variety of cases. A number of AUSAs have developed expertise that has led them to assume primary responsibility in the USAO for specific areas such as labor violations, export control violations, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, prison crimes, child pornography, copyright violations, environmental crimes, and civil rights violations. Many AUSAs have developed nationally-recognized expertise in particular areas.

Criminal Chief



Assistant United States Attorney

Robert Dugdale

(213) 894-2400

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Criminal Division
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

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