The Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is responsible for the enforcement of federal criminal laws within the district. Approximately 110 Assistant United States Attorneys (“AUSAs”) as well as support staff members are assigned to the following sections within the division: Violent Crimes and Terrorism, Business and Securities Fraud, Organized Crime and Racketeering, Civil Rights, Narcotics, Public Integrity, and General Crimes. The office also operates a Criminal Division on Long Island.
New AUSAs are assigned to the General Crimes Section, where they handle a wide variety of cases. These cases typically include the importation and distribution of narcotics, credit card fraud, bank robbery, Postal theft, violations of immigration laws, money laundering and currency violations, counterfeiting, firearms offenses, tax fraud, health care fraud, child exploitation, computer crimes, and intellectual property violations. New AUSAs are given significant responsibility in handling all phases of a criminal prosecution, from the initial investigation and arrest through trial, sentencing, and appeal. General Crimes AUSAs are closely supervised and trained both within the office and at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, located in Columbia, South Carolina.
The office has one of the preeminent national security practices in the Department of Justice, and prosecutes a broad array of counterterrorism, counterintelligence, weapons proliferation and export enforcement cases. For example, the office is currently prosecuting defendants responsible for the 2009 al-Qaeda plot to attack the New York City subway system with improvised explosive devices, including Najibullah Zazi and his co-conspirators. In August 2010, the office secured the trial convictions of Russell Defreitas, Abdul Kadir, and Abdel Nur for their roles in a plot to explode fuel tanks underneath John F. Kennedy airport. The office has successfully prosecuted homegrown terrorists who have conspired to commit terrorist attacks against New York City landmarks, as well as members and associates of Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Tamil Tigers, and several other foreign terrorist organizations.
The Business & Securities Fraud Section investigates and prosecutes a wide variety of economic crimes, including corporate, securities, health care, bank and mortgage fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The office has played a leading role in prosecutions of cases arising out of the 2008 market collapse, including its prosecution of two Credit Suisse brokers who defrauded their clients of nearly $1 billion by selling them mortgage-backed securities disguised as safer securities backed by government-guaranteed student loans. The office’s investigation of corruption in the stock loan industry resulted in 30 convictions. The office has also played a leading role in the use of innovative investigative techniques in health care fraud cases, including its use of court-ordered cameras and microphones. The office’s recent efforts to combat corporate fraud include its prosecution of senior executives of Friedman’s Inc., a NYSE-listed jewelry retailer, for accounting fraud that resulted in the Chief Executive Officer being sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment and its recent indictment of senior executives of Spongetech Delivery Systems. The office’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force has obtained dozens of convictions, including convictions of nine conspirators whose fraud resulted in a $92 million loss.
The office continues to lead the government’s assault on organized crime, convicting scores of high ranking members of both traditional and emerging criminal enterprises. Since 2003, the office has convicted the boss or acting boss of each of the five La Cosa Nostra organized crime families that operate in the New York City area, including Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino, Colombo family acting boss Alphonse Persico, Gambino family acting boss Peter Gotti, Genovese family boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante, and Luchese family acting boss Louis Dadoine. These and numerous other prosecutions, resolved through trial verdicts and guilty pleas, have significantly advanced law enforcement’s efforts to dismantle these longstanding criminal enterprises. The office also continues to employ federal racketeering statutes in significant public corruption matters, prosecutions of emerging criminal groups and in specialized areas of law such as labor racketeering.
The office dedicates significant resources to the Justice Department’s priority of dismantling local, national, and international violent gangs which terrorize New York City and Long Island neighborhoods. The office has focused on both neighborhood-based gangs responsible for countless murders and other violent crimes perpetrated primarily in low-income areas within the district, as well as local affiliates of national and international gangs, including most prominently the MS-13, Folk Nation, Almighty Bloods Nation, Latin Kings, Crips and Nétas. In recent years, the office has prosecuted scores of gang members and leaders for murder, attempted murder, racketeering, and other violent conduct, including several murders committed by members of MS-13.
The office continues to prosecute major national and international drug organizations that import narcotics through John F. Kennedy International Airport and other transshipment points, and distribute narcotics in our district and elsewhere. The office has been responsible for convicting the leaders of major Colombian drug organizations and Cartels as well as the world’s largest marijuana suppliers. The office’s ongoing efforts are focused on the major Mexican Cartels and other organizations engaged in large-scale narcotics trafficking, complex international money laundering, and drug-related violence.
The office’s prosecution of corrupt public officials is a top priority. Recent prosecutions have resulted in the conviction of a county legislator, top union officials and construction industry executives involved in bribery, a New York City Police Detective who assisted a narcotics-trafficking organization, a prominent criminal defense attorney who tampered with and threatened witnesses, and more than a dozen Con Edison inspectors who were stealing government funds. The office will continue to lead the Department’s drive to apply a full array of investigative techniques to its ongoing investigations of corrupt local, state, and federal officials.
The office continues to make significant strides in prosecuting civil rights violations, achieving particular success more recently in the prosecution of human trafficking cases. The office is at the forefront of the Department’s effort to combat human trafficking, a modern form of slavery, and has prosecuted numerous traffickers who have compelled the labor and services of adults and minors, many of whom were forced to work in the sex trade, from the United States and abroad. Historically, the office has been involved in the most prominent criminal civil rights cases in New York City, including the sexual assault of Abner Louima by members of the New York City Police Department’s 70th Precinct in Brooklyn and the violent attack of Yankel Rosenbaum during the onset of the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn. In 2008, the office successfully prosecuted four men for carrying out bias-motivated assaults against African-Americans following the election of President Barack Obama.
Sixteen AUSAs as well as support staff members are assigned to the Eastern District’s Long Island office, located in Central Islip. Assigned AUSAs are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the broad array of federal crimes that arise in suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties. In recent years, prosecutors from this office have been increasingly active in prosecuting violent gangs, securities and corporate fraud, public corruption, major narcotics traffickers, traditional organized crime, and child pornography traffickers. Over the past two years alone, the Long Island Criminal Division has prosecuted more than 150 gang defendants.
Finally, together with our office’s Civil Division, the Criminal Division has been at the forefront of using money laundering and forfeiture statutes to prosecute criminals for hiding and disguising their criminal profits and to deprive them of these ill-gotten gains. The forfeiture practice often litigates matters of first impression, and its recoveries consistently rank it as one of the top five districts in the country. The office has succeeded in obtaining multi-million dollar forfeitures judgment in cases involving corporate fraud, health care fraud, securities fraud, HUD fraud, narcotics dealing, and organized crime.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.