Criminal Chief, Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur
Deputy Criminal Chief, White Collar & Economic Crimes, John Webb
Deputy Criminal Chief, Narcotics & Gangs, Hal McDonough
Deputy Criminal Chief, Firearms, Phil Wehby
The Criminal Division consists of a Criminal Chief, three Deputy Criminal Chiefs, and approximately 20 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). AUSAs are assigned to one of three teams focusing on particular areas of federal law.
The Criminal Division is responsible for prosecuting violations of federal criminal law, primarily felony offenses. There are a number of federal agencies in the District that investigate suspected violations. These agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the United States Marshal Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Social Security Administration. The Criminal Division also works closely with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, local police departments, county sheriff’s offices, and drug task forces consisting of representatives of federal, state and local law enforcement to enforce federal law.
In addition to taking cases to trial after indictment and handling subsequent appeals, our AUSAs are actively involved in the investigative stages, working closely with the various agencies to develop strategies, provide advice, prepare search warrants and other court documents to obtain evidence, and present evidence and indictments to grand juries.
Currently in this District there are two active federal grand juries. Each of these grand juries is in session from one to four days per month. Grand jurors serve for a period of eighteen months unless extended or sooner discharged by the Court.
The function of each grand jury, of course, is to hear evidence of suspected violations of federal law and determine whether to return an indictment. That determination requires that there be probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and that a particular person or corporation committed it. No federal grand jury can indict without the concurrence of the United States Attorney.
The Supreme Court consistently has held that the proper functioning of the grand jury system depends upon maintaining the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. Accordingly, federal law imposes upon grand jurors, court reporters, the United States Attorney and his staff and everyone else who participates in the grand jury process, except the witness, the obligation to maintain the secrecy of matters occurring before the grand jury.
The goal of OCDETF is to identify, investigate, and prosecute the most significant drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and their related enterprises, and to disrupt and dismantle the operations of those organizations in order to reduce the drug supply in the United States. Accordingly, the drug trafficking organizations to be considered as targets for OCDETF investigation must have linkage to, or have the demonstrated potential link to, components of nationwide or international drug trafficking or money laundering organizations and/or their facilitators. Major drug trafficking organizations may include:
- Criminal groups formed for the purpose of importing, manufacturing, or distributing large amounts of controlled substances or financing such operations; or
- Criminal groups formed for money laundering operations to transfer or attempt to legitimize narcotics-related monies of the foregoing.
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
Investigations considered for OCDETF designation include more than one investigative agency, demand significant attorney resources during the investigative stage, focus on high-level prosecutions while concentrating on dismantling the financial infrastructure of the targeted organization, and expect to result in the conviction of persons engaged in regional, national or international organized activities related to controlled substances.
The United States Attorney's Office is often involved in appeals from rulings (in both criminal and civil cases) of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Lawyers in this office write briefs, file motions, and participate in oral arguments before the Court of Appeals.
The appellate coordinator has the responsibility to coordinate appellate brief-writing, appellate argument, and other appellate matters arising within the civil and criminal divisions of this office, and to review and report adverse decisions, review and forward government appeal recommendations, and serve as the point of contact between our office and the Department of Justice's Appellate Division and Solicitor General's Office on appellate matters.
The Asset Forfeiture Section is a subsection of the Criminal Division; however, it is responsible for the development and pursuit of all forfeitures occurring within the District. The Asset Forfeiture Attorney assists investigative agencies in obtaining civil seizure warrants and develops and handles all civil judicial forfeiture cases. The Asset Forfeiture Attorney also works with investigative agencies and criminal AUSAs to identify assets, to assist in the development of the forfeiture and related financial crimes by use of the grand jury and to obtain criminal seizure warrants and restraining orders in criminal forfeitures. The Asset Forfeiture Attorney also handles all ancillary proceedings in criminal forfeitures.
While financial investigations in drug cases and the development of forfeitures from those cases are of paramount importance to the District, the Asset Forfeiture Section also pursues forfeitures in cases involving obscenity, child pornography, firearms violations, counterfeiting, RICO, harboring of illegal aliens, money laundering involving non-drug SUAs, wire fraud, mail fraud and investment fraud. When possible, asset forfeiture is used as a tool to seize or otherwise secure the availability of assets for restitution purposes.
Stop Medicare Fraud
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are working together to help eliminate fraud and investigate fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid operators who are cheating the system.