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United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois

Trials of a corrupt former governor of Illinois, Chicago officials who rigged city hiring, individuals who lied about their support of foreign terrorism, corporate executives who cheated public shareholders and traditional organized crime bosses who were responsible for notorious murders are among the recent, successful prosecutions that distinguish the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois. While earning a reputation built over decades for battling organized crime and aggressively prosecuting public corruption, the federal prosecutor's office in Chicago continues to uphold that tradition, even as its top priorities now also include anti-terrorism, violent crime associated with narcotics and street gangs, health care fraud and cybercrime. In the civil arena, the USAO has collected hundreds of millions of dollars against insurance companies that discriminate against pregnant women and pharmacies that cheat Medicare. And extensive efforts are dedicated to providing assistance and restitution to victims of crime.

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States Attorney since September 2001, directs the office, which has more than 300 employees, including approximately 160 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and two dozen paralegals, along with other administrative and support staff. The Northern District of Illinois covers 18 counties across the northen tier of Illinois, with a population of approximately nine million people. The district has a branch office in Rockford staffed by seven attorneys. Both attorneys and staff are committed to a longstanding tradition of public service and community involvement throughout northern Illinois. Each year, attorneys and staff donate hundreds of toys and articles of clothing to needy children, provide programs for children in public schools, and mentor law students.

In the Criminal Division, new Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) are assigned to the General Crimes Section where they receive both formal and “hands-on” training in federal criminal law and procedure, grand jury and trial practice, and participate in conducting investigations with the various federal law enforcement agencies. News AUSAs are quickly assigned responsibilities in investigations and trials under the supervision of more senior prosecutors, exposing them to the entire spectrum of federal offenses, including tax fraud, bank robbery and embezzlement, and illegal sale and possession of narcotics and firearms. After becoming proficient in the investigation and trial of less complex matters, AUSAs are assigned to the other sections, such as the Narcotics and Gangs Section, which focuses on the investigation and prosecution of major narcotics distribution organizations, in particular street gangs and drug importation and transportation cartels. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an office-wide program aimed at deterring gun crime.

Other “senior” sections of the Criminal Division are the Financial Crimes and Special Prosecutions Section, which handles more complex matters, including securities and commodities fraud and bankruptcy and mortgage fraud, and the Public Corruption and Organized Crime Section, which continues to dismantle the pillars of crime on which the office's reputation was built. “Organized crime” includes La Cosa Nostra (known in Chicago as the “Outfit”), as well as other emerging groups, such as Eastern European and Asian criminal enterprises. Prosecutors in these sections often use such federal law enforcement tools as court-approved electronic monitoring and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which allows the prosecution of organizations for crimes occurring over many years.

Several AUSAs specialize in money laundering and assisting attorneys throughout the office in seizing and forfeiting defendants’ assets. They attempt to “take the profit out of crime” by tracing the proceeds of drug traffickers and other criminals and obtaining their profits as restitution for victims or for the Government. Several other AUSAs specialize in appeals and guide prosecutors throughout the office in writing briefs and preparing for oral argument.

About 30 Assistant U.S. Attorneys are assigned to the Civil Division where they handle a wide array of trials and appeals on behalf of the federal government and its agencies. These matters include civil rights, environmental, food and drug, and civil fraud cases. The division also defends federal officials against personal injury and medical malpractice claims, and employment discrimination lawsuits, in addition to defending class actions and administrative rulings relating to government policies and programs. Financial Litigation Section attorneys trace assets to collect restitution for victims of crime and debts owed to federal agencies. They also represent the Government in bankruptcy matters and defensive foreclosures.

Attorneys in the office work closely with agents of all of the federal investigative agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the offices of inspector general of the various federal agencies and departments (such as the Departments of Defense and State). The office also encourages extensive cooperation between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.

The office typically receives hundreds of employment applications annually from lawyers, making positions extremely competitive. Attorney applicants are evaluated on legal experience, law school performance, writing and oral communication skills and dedication to public service, among other factors. Successful attorney applicants are expected to commit themselves to serving a minimum of four years in the office.

The office also has an extensive intern program designed to expose law students to all aspects of federal criminal and civil practice. Student interns have an opportunity to participate in and observe conferences, depositions, hearings, trials and appeals.

For further information, please write or call the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois at (312) 353-5300.

Eastern Division (Chicago)

A map of Illinois counties covered by the Chicago office.  Counties include Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall, Will, La Salle and Grunde

Patrick J. Fitzgerald
United States Attorney

United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
219 S. Dearborn St., 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: (312) 353-5300
Fax: (312) 353-2067

Covers Illinois Counties:

  • Lake
  • Kane
  • DuPage
  • Cook
  • Kendall
  • Will
  • La Salle
  • Grunde

Western Division (Rockford)

A map of Illinois counties covered by the Rockford office.  Counties include JoDaviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Carroll, Ogle, DeKalb, Whiteside and Lee

John McKenzie
Attorney In Charge

United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois, Western Division
327 S. Church Street, Room 3300
Rockford, IL 61101

Phone: (815) 987-4444
Fax: (815) 987-4236

Covers Illinois Counties:

  • JoDaviess
  • Stephenson
  • Winnebago
  • Boone
  • McHenry
  • Carroll
  • Ogle
  • DeKalb
  • Whiteside
  • Lee