The mission of the Criminal Division is to prosecute federal criminal cases. The Criminal Division has approximately 25 Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs), with a staff of legal assistants and technical support personnel.
Within the Criminal Division are several specialized areas of concentration including:
- Terrorism and National Security,
- Public Corruption,
- Economic Crimes,
- Government Program Fraud/Health Care Fraud,
- Violent Crimes and Firearms Offenses,
- Drug Trafficking,
- Tax Fraud,
- Environmental Crimes,
- Computer Crimes,
- Child Exploitation,
- Civil Rights, and
The Criminal Division also includes Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs) assigned from other federal agencies, and state and local prosecutor’s offices. SAUSAs serve as attorneys for the government in specific cases, or in long term priority program areas such as immigration crimes and drug, gang, and street crime initiatives, and at designated federal enclaves.
Victim Rights and Asset Recovery Unit (VRARU)
The mission of the Victim Rights and Asset Recovery Unit of the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans through the integration of the Asset Forfeiture, Financial Litigation, and Victim/Witness Units utilizing a cooperative effort to hold offenders accountable and restore victims of federal crimes by:
- disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations,
- forfeiting assets,
- providing aid to victims and witnesses in a dignified and respectful manner,
- protecting victims and witnesses from further harm,
- maximizing recovery, and
- collecting debts aggressively and efficiently.
The Civil Division
The Civil Division represents the interests of the United States in civil lawsuits involving the government, its departments, and agencies in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Cases include federal tort claims, employment discrimination, immigration matters, bankruptcy, civil health care fraud, social security, environmental matters, a heavy volume of federal prison litigation, and affirmative civil cases. The Division is comprised of approximately 10 attorneys plus legal assistants and a staff of paralegals.
The Administrative Division
The Administrative Division is responsible for providing support services to the three offices, including budget administration, facilities management, contracting, procurement of supplies and services, and information technology. The Division has a staff of approximately seven persons.
The Office's Senior Management and Program Staff
United States Attorney - Peter J. Smith
First Assistant United States Attorney - Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt
Chief, Criminal Division - Bruce D. Brandler
Deputy Chief, Criminal Division (Scranton and Williamsport) - John C. Gurganus
Deputy Chief, Criminal Division (Harrisburg) – Eric Pfisterer
Branch Chief/Williamsport Office – George J. Rocktashel
Senior Litigation Counsel (Criminal Divsion)
Gordon A.D. Zubrod
William S. Houser
Criminal Health Care Fraud Coordinator - Kim Daniel
Asset Forfeiture Unit, Financial Litigation and Victim-Witness Program - James T. Clancy
Victim/Witness Coordinator - Laurie Reiley
Chief, Criminal Appeals - Stephen R. Cerutti
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Lead Attorney - Christy Fawcett
Chief, Civil Division and Chief, Civil Appeals – Kate L. Mershimer
Deputy Chief, Civil Division - G. Michael Thiel
Senior Litigation Counsel (Civil Division) - Mark Morrison
Administrative Officer – Linda L. Smith
Law Enforcement Coordinator (Acting)–John E. Marsh
Media Relations and Community Outreach –Dawn Mayko/Amanda Endy
Our commitment to combating public corruption in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and to keeping the public informed about pending cases.