The Criminal Division is responsible for all criminal investigations and prosecutions handled by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. It is also responsible for advising the United States Attorney on criminal law related matters and is a liaison with other Department of Justice components regarding criminal cases. As directed by the U.S. Attorney, various members of the Criminal Division provide a liaison between this office and various other law enforcement agencies, federal, state and local. There are presently approximately 83 Assistant United States Attorney's in the Criminal Division. The Criminal Division is comprised of the following units.
The Appeals Unit is responsible for reviewing and approving all appellate briefs for the Criminal Division before they are filed, advising the United States Attorney on the merits of any proposed government appeal, and advising AUSAs on legal issues.
The Cybercrime Unit prosecutes crimes of Internet fraud, hacking, trade secrets, identity theft, intellectual property and copyright infringement. The most notable of the cases prosecuted by this Unit is United States v. Albert Gonzalez, et al., also known as the “TJX case” in which the office successfully prosecuted a group of hackers who stole millions of credit card numbers belonging to individuals from around the world. The TJX case is one of the country’s largest data breaches.
The Economic Crimes Unit handles the investigation and prosecution of a wide variety of economic crimes, including bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, advance fee schemes, insurance fraud, "con man" schemes, money laundering offenses, tax offenses, securities fraud, commercial bribery, copyright infringement, defense procurement fraud and environmental crimes. It is also charged with investigating and prosecuting complex computer-related crimes. This unit has a Financial Auditor who is available to assist AUSAs in other units of this office.
The Health Care Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes complex health care fraud committed by corporate and individual defendants, including, but not limited to, independent clinical laboratories, outpatient dialysis providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, ambulance service providers, doctors, pharmacists, and other medical providers.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force handles the investigation and prosecution of drug cases, and drug-related offenses, with emphasis on major illegal drug importation and distribution organizations. The Task Force consists of AUSAs from this office, along with Coordinators from DEA, FBI, IRS, INS, ATF, Customs and the U.S. Marshals Service. The OCDETF Regional Coordinator is responsible for coordination with the OCDETF Units of the U.S. Attorney's Offices in the five other New England states.
The Organized Crime Strike Force/Gang Unit is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of federal criminal offenses (extortion, loan sharking, racketeering, etc.) committed by organized crime groups in this district, including cases involving traditional organized crime families (e.g., the Mafia), Asian gangs, Russian organized crime groups, and other nontraditional organized crime groups. This unit has also traditionally handled most labor racketeering matters in the office.
The Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit handles the investigation and prosecution of federal offenses involving public corruption, whether such offenses occur at the federal, state, or local level. The unit also handles all civil rights prosecutions, and other cases of particular sensitivity, as assigned on an individual basis.
The Major Crimes Unit’s caseload is extremely varied covering a broad range of federal criminal violations such as arson, explosives, firearms offenses, bank robberies, sexual exploitation of children and obscenity matters, assaults on federal officials and crimes on federal reservations, customs offenses, currency counterfeiting, postal internal and external matters, federal regulatory and program offenses, and theft cases.
The Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit handles anti-terrorism investigations, as well as those involving breaches of national security, such as espionage and munitions smuggling cases. In addition, the members of the Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit are responsible for the operation of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, as well as administer the Critical Incident Response Plan and the National Security and International Affairs program.
All criminal matters arising in the four most western counties of Massachusetts (Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden) are handled by the Springfield branch office of the U.S. Attorney's Office. This office is located in the Federal Building and Courthouse, 300 State Street, Suite 230, Springfield, Massachusetts 01105. Occasionally, AUSAs in the Boston office will handle matters in Springfield.
The office recently opened a branch office in Worcester, to which three criminal AUSAs are presently assigned. This office is located in the Donohue Federal Building, 595 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608. The Worcester Criminal AUSAs, in consultation with the affected unit chief from the Boston office and the section chief, decide whether a particular matter within central Massachusetts will be handled by Worcester AUSAs only, by an AUSA from the Boston office, or by both.
The Civil Division represents the United States and its departments, agencies, and employees at both the trial and appellate levels in civil actions filed in Massachusetts. There are approximately 18 Assistant United States Attorneys in the Civil Division, including one attorney in the U.S. Attorney's office in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Civil Division handles four major types of cases: asset forfeiture; defensive litigation; affirmative civil enforcement; and debt collection. A short description of each is given below.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit investigates and prosecutes both civil and criminal cases that involve the possible forfeiture of real property, currency, vehicles, and other items of value. Asset Forfeiture Unit AUSAs handle forfeiture matters alone, or in conjunction with an AUSA from a Criminal Division unit. The Unit also works to enhance cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the equitable sharing of assets recovered through forfeiture.
Civil AUSAs defend the United States and its agencies in a wide array of civil suits brought against the government. Such defensive cases include suits under the Federal Tort Claims Act; allegations of discrimination in federal employment; challenges to agency actions and government procurement under the Administrative Procedure Act; appeals under the Social Security Act; suits seeking the release of records under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act; and the defense of government officials sued in their individual capacities.
The Civil Division devotes roughly half of its resources to its Affirmative Civil Enforcement ("ACE") program in which actions are brought to enforce federal regulatory requirements and to recover damages against those who submit false claims or commit fraud against the government. The majority of ACE cases are brought to enforce the federal False Claims Act, with a significant portion of this work devoted to pursuing health care fraud. Some of these cases are initiated by private citizens who may bring suit on behalf of the United States in appropriate circumstances. ACE cases also include prosecutions for fraud in government procurements, and actions to enforce our Nation's environmental and civil rights laws.
The Civil Division includes a Financial Litigation Unit ("FLU") having responsibility for recovering monies owed the government because of breach of contract, defaulted loans, and failure to pay administrative fines and penalties. The FLU also pursues legal proceedings to enforce criminal fines, restitution orders, and civil judgments.
In Fiscal Year 2006, the FLU Unit collected recorded over $727 million.
The mission of the Administration Division is to provide consistent and effective administrative services and support to the employees and programs of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
The Administration Division is responsible for planning and executing a comprehensive range of administrative services which support office operations. In the areas of personnel management, financial management, systems and information management, and office services, the support provided by the Administration Division is critical to the effective and efficient operations of our office. The Division is managed by the Administrative Officer who is the principal advisor to the United States Attorney and the District on administration. As the principal advisor to the District on administration, the Administrative Officer provides guidance on the management and use of the District's financial, manpower, and physical resources, and on administrative policies, procedures, and practices. The Administrative Officer supervises a support staff of twenty-six employees as well as seven stay-in-school students in the following program areas:
The Personnel Unit provides direction and support in all areas of human resources management, including recruitment, merit promotion, position classification, pay administration, performance management, and employee benefits. In serving all of its constituencies, including employees, managers, job applicants, and the general public, the Unit endeavors to consistently provide accurate, timely and helpful information and assistance. The Personnel Unit consists of the Personnel Officer, two Personnel Management Specialists, a Personnel Assistant and a Personnel Clerk.
The Finance Unit is responsible for the formulation, execution and monitoring of the District budgets. This includes the prompt payment of vendor invoices and travel reimbursements, as well as the documentation that supports all expenditures of District funds. The Unit ensures that proper management controls are in place over the expenditure of all funds and provides management with periodic reports on the allocation of resources and status of funds. The Finance Unit consists of the Budget Officer, two Budget Analysts, a Budget Assistant and one stay-in-school student.
The Information Systems Unit is responsible for computer support functions in the Boston office, as well as in the two staffed branch offices, located in Worcester and Springfield, MA. While there are three main functional areas (internal operations, automated litigation support, and case management), the Systems Unit is committed to all computer projects that support the mission of the USAO. The Systems Unit supports the day to day computer operations, provides the attorneys and staff with automated litigation services by supporting advanced technologies to improve trial preparation and courtroom presentation, and administers all of the district's data base systems with priority placed on the case management and record management systems. Systems also supports the video conferencing facilities which are used to conduct meetings, interviews, and training between offices and other sites. The Information Systems Unit consists of the Systems Manager, two Computer Specialists, a Litigation Support Specialist, two Computer Assistants, a Case Management Manager, a Docket Technician and three stay-in-school students.
The Support Services Unit is responsible for all logistical operations including telephone and communications, mail services, the procurement of supplies, furniture and equipment, and property management. They also develop and maintain service contracts for office equipment, coordinate space and facility needs, and provide other support that affects the everyday functioning of the office. The Support Services Unit consists of the Support Services Supervisor, a Support Services Specialist, an Administrative Clerk, a Receptionist, a Mail Clerk, and three stay-in-school students.