The Fort Lauderdale branch office of the United States Attorney's Office is staffed by approximately 70 employees, including 37 criminal and civil AUSAs, supported by administrative and support personnel.
The Ft. Lauderdale branch Criminal Division consists of three sections: Economic Crimes; Narcotics/Major Crimes; and Organized Crime/Special Prosecutions North. Traditionally, the Fort Lauderdale office has led the District in the prosecution of organized crime cases, including traditional LCN, domestic gangs, and other criminal RICO enterprises. More recently, the Organized Crime Section has focused its attention on dismantling transnational criminal organizations. The Fort Lauderdale office has also been a leader in the prosecution of white collar frauds, including mortgage fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, tax fraud, mail and wire fraud, public corruption, and health care fraud. The Narcotics Section has earned national attention for its coordinated multi-jurisdictional attack on the proliferation of prescription pain clinics, also known as pill mills, in Broward County.
The Fort Lauderdale Civil Division maintains a contingent of three general civil prosecutors, including its Deputy Chief. The Fort Lauderdale Deputy Chief, in turn, reports to the Chief of the Civil Division in Miami. Two asset forfeiture prosecutors assist the criminal prosecutors in forfeiture cases and pursue separate civil forfeitures when appropriate.
The Fort Lauderdale office also includes two appellate attorneys, who report directly to the Chief of the Appellate Division in Miami. In addition to handling appeals in Fort Lauderdale-based cases, these attorneys often act as consultants on legal issues arising in on-going cases in the office.
WEST PALM BEACH/FORT PIERCE
The West Palm Beach branch office of the United States Attorney's Office is staffed by approximately 40 employees, including 26 criminal and asset forfeiture AUSAs, supported by administrative and support personnel.
The West Palm Beach branch Criminal Division consists of two general crimes sections, Criminal I and II. AUSAs assigned to the general crimes sections handle the investigation and prosecution of a broad range of federal criminal violations, including complex and comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of financial fraud crimes, large-scale drug trafficking and gang organizations, human smuggling, and public corruption matters.
AUSAs focus on a broad range of financial crimes, including mortgage fraud, bank fraud, Ponzi schemes, complex investment and securities fraud, corporate fraud, tax fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and other large scale mail and wire frauds. The West Palm Beach office also has a Health Care Fraud Task Force that specializes in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of health care fraud schemes targeting the Medicare program and private insurance carriers. AUSAs focusing on large-scale drug trafficking and gang organizations have brought brutal drug gangs to justice, achieving long prison sentences and death penalty verdicts on behalf of the community and the people of the United States. West Palm Beach AUSAs have successfully prosecuted many human smuggling organizations, and smuggling events, many of which have resulted in death. The West Palm Beach branch office has also earned wide-spread attention for the successful prosecutions of publically elected county and city officials on a myriad of corruption charges.
There are two asset forfeiture AUSAs assigned to the West Palm Beach branch office. They are involved in the forfeiture of assets derived from drug trafficking and other unlawful activity, such as mail and wire fraud. The asset forfeiture AUSAs assist the criminal prosecutors in forfeiture cases and pursue separate civil forfeitures, some of which are international in scope.
The Ft. Pierce branch office has one general criminal section (Criminal III), and covers five counties in Florida's Treasure Coast region: Martin; St. Lucie; Indian River; Okeechobee; and Highlands. Federal law enforcement agencies with resident offices in the Ft. Pierce area include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, and Homeland Security Investigations. Due to the large geographical area, AUSAs and federal agencies often partner with state and local law enforcement. To handle the increasing population and associated crime, a new federal courthouse has been constructed in Fort Pierce and became fully operational in December 2011. The USAO is housed in this building and the new office space accommodates up to eighteen AUSAs. As the smallest of the District's branch offices, the Ft. Pierce AUSAs handle the investigation and prosecution of a broad spectrum of federal criminal violations, from smaller reactive cases to complex long-term matters, including credit card fraud and identity theft, mortgage fraud, health care fraud, postal thefts, immigration and naturalization offenses, human trafficking and alien smuggling, narcotics trafficking, customs violations, money laundering, organized crime, public corruption, federal tax violations, child pornography, Hobbs Act robberies, gang prosecution, bank robberies and firearms violations.