News and Press Releases

Nevada U.s. Attorney's Office Employees Receive National Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2003

Las Vegas, Nev. -  Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, is pleased to announce that two employees of the District of Nevada's United States Attorney's Office have received the "2003 Director's Award" from the Department of Justice Executive Office for United States Attorneys for making outstanding contributions in federal, state and local law enforcement. Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel Schiess and Timothy Vasquez, attorneys in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office in Las Vegas, were two of 269 award recipients honored today at the 20th annual Director's Award Ceremony held in Washington D.C. Recipients include Assistant United States Attorneys, litigation and information technology support personnel, as well as others who have made outstanding contributions in federal, state and local law enforcement.

Daniel Schiess was selected to receive the Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney for the successful investigation and prosecution of Harley Harmon, a former Nevada legislator convicted by a jury in February 2003 of 34 counts of Mail Fraud. On September 22, 2003, Harmon was sentenced to 57 months in prison, and ordered to pay $2,740,125.54 in restitution and to forfeit $557,451.00 in assets. Timothy Vasquez, was selected to receive a 2003 Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney on behalf of the United States Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico. Vasquez recently joined the staff of the United States Attorney's Office in Las Vegas.

"Those honored today are shepherds of justice dedicated to the enhancement of liberty through the law," said Attorney General John Ashcroft at today's ceremony. "You have kept America safe from terrorism, brought violent crime to an historic 30-year low, forged new relationships of trust and cooperation, and most of all, protected and defended the Constitutional rights and liberties of all Americans. Thank you for your leadership and for your dedicated service."

Although terrorism is the top priority of the Department of Justice, the Department has continued its mission to enforce all of our nation's laws, including prosecuting environmental crime, civil rights violations, and drug crimes, as well as representing our client agencies, conducting civil enforcement, seeking asset forfeiture and assisting victims of crime. Crime has dropped to a 30-year low as the Department has employed tough tools and tough penalties against criminals who have victimized the innocent. The Department has implemented President Bush's Project Safe Neighborhoods' initiative, increasing federal gun prosecutions by 36 percent, and reducing gun crimes so dramatically that last year only seven percent of crimes were committed with a firearm – the lowest ever. The war on drugs has been reinvigorated and the country is celebrating record lows in student drug use while government seizures of heroin have doubled in two years. In addition, the Department of Justice-led Corporate Fraud Task Force has restored integrity to the marketplace by cracking down on companies and corporate executives who abused the trust of their employees and investors. Last year, the Department collected a record $2.1 billion in fraud settlements against the United States, and collected a record $202 million in civil penalties from polluters. The Department developed the government's first ban on racial profiling by federal law enforcement, successfully resolved decades-long civil rights investigations, and worked to bring communities together in a way that respects the rights of all Americans. The Civil Rights Division charged more defendants for criminal bias-motivated civil rights violations in 2001-2002 than in 1999-2000, and hate crimes are down almost 25 percent from last year.

"I am extremely proud of the work of Assistant United States Attorneys Schiess and Vasquez," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "These awards are well-deserved. Both attorneys are devoted employees who spent innumerable hours representing the United States in difficult and complex prosecutions, and the Director's Award is a small measure of thanks for their dedication to government service."

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys provides oversight, general executive assistance and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys' offices around the country.

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