News and Press Releases

Local Federal Prosecutor Receives National Award from DOJ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2004

Las Vegas, Nev. - A federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada has received a "2004 Director's Award" from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric Johnson, an attorney in the Criminal Division Organized Crime Strike Force, was one of 224 award recipients honored Wednesday at the 21st 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.

Eric Johnson was selected to receive the Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney for the successful investigation and prosecution of Zhen Dong Yu, a former Bank of China manager convicted of federal racketeering charges stemming from the embezzlement of $485 million from the Bank. Yu, a citizen of the People's Republic of China (PRC), was returned to China in April 2004 after being sentenced to 144 months imprisonment and forfeiting approximately $3,750,000 in U.S. currency. See www.usdoj.gov/usao/nv/home/pressrelease/april2004/yu041604.htm for more information on the investigation and prosecution of Yu. Marty Woelfle, a Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section prosecutor who worked the case with Eric Johnson, also received the Director's Award for superior performance on the case. Eric Johnson joins Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Schiess (2003 recipient) and Sharon Lever (2002 recipient) as recent District of Nevada Director's Award recipients.

"I am proud of the outstanding prosecutorial and investigative efforts made by Assistant U.S. Attorney Johnson, Trial Attorney Woelfle, our local FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and all of the participating investigating agencies in the Bank of China case," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "The Bank of China case is significant not only in its complexity, innovation, amount of money involved, and international ties, but also because it exemplifies law enforcement cooperation and teamwork."

"I commend all of the award recipients for their extraordinary accomplishments," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "You have made a difference that has expanded the freedom of the American people–giving them freedom from terrorism, freedom from crime, freedom from the dependency of drugs, and freedom from dishonesty and deception in our financial markets. Your work, your lives, and your actions have changed lives for the better, ensuring that every American is equal under the law and protected by the United States Constitution."

"These awards recognize the impressive achievements of 224 of the nation's finest public servants," said Mary Beth Buchanan, Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice. "They are the prosecutors, secretaries, paralegals, IT specialists, officers, agents, and others whose hard work makes our nation safer and our system of justice stronger."

Working together, the nation's law enforcement and justice community have:

• Driven the violent crime rate to its lowest level in 30 years;

• Increased gun-crime prosecutions by 68 percent in just three years–and as a consequence, over the past three years the number of gun crimes has decreased by more than 250,000;

• Charged more than 900 violators in more than 400 cases since the inception of the Corporate Fraud Task Forces. To date, more than 500 individuals have been convicted, including top corporate executives;

• Dismantled 14 major drug-trafficking networks and seriously disrupted eight more over the past two years alone;

• Stopped instances of human trafficking. In the fiscal years of 2001 to 2003, 210 new human-trafficking investigations were opened. That is double the number of the previous three years; and

• Charged 439 individuals for criminal civil rights violations over the past three fiscal years. This is more than were charged during the preceding three years.

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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