John Malcolm Bales assumed the duties of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas on May 1, 2009. Bales, 56 of Nacogdoches, has 22 years' experience as an Assistant United States Attorney and previously served as First Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the District's Criminal Division. As United States Attorney, Bales directs hundreds of federal prosecutions and civil cases in a 43-county area stretching from the Oklahoma border to the Gulf of Mexico. He oversees a budget of more than $8 million and actively manages a staff of more than 100, including 53 lawyers in six fully staffed offices.
Malcolm Bales graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in December 1980. He was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982. He worked briefly as an attorney for the law firm of Hancock Piedfort in Austin, Texas and served five months as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorney in the United States Navy. He resigned his commission to become a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in September, 1982. He worked as a field agent in the San Antonio, Mobile, and Chicago field offices. In Chicago, he investigated public corruption cases, most notably the "Greylord" case. He resigned from the FBI in February 1989 and joined the U.S. Attorney's Office as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.
Bales was assigned to the OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) unit for the Eastern District of Texas and worked complex narcotics cases until he became the Deputy Chief/OCDETF Lead Attorney in 1993. He continued to investigate and prosecute cases as well as lead the five person OCDETF group until May 1995 when he accepted a position as an AUSA in Denver, Colorado. He worked in the general crimes division for three months, but returned to the Eastern District of Texas to work as the AUSA assigned to the new Lufkin Division office in 1995.
In Lufkin, Bales worked on a general crimes docket which included OCDETF cases and some significant white collar crime cases. As the Lufkin branch grew, Bales informally assumed Attorney-in-Charge (AIC) responsibilities as well. In early 2002, Bales was designated the Professional Responsibility Act Officer (PRAO) for the District. He is also the point of contact for the CEOS cases. He was named the new Chief of the Criminal Division, effective January 26, 2003. A week later, as space shuttle Columbia rained down all over East Texas Bales stood up a command center. He served as Criminal Chief for three and a half years and then returned to the line where he prosecuted narcotics, public corruption, and capital murder cases.
AUSA Bales received two Department of Justice (DOJ) Sustained Superior Achievement Awards in 1989 and 1992. He has been recognized on several occasions for his case accomplishments by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI. In 1995, the East Texas Peace Officers Association awarded him its annual Award of Excellence. He is the 2004 recipient of the J. Michael Bradford Award presented by the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys to the nation's outstanding AUSA. In 2007 , he received the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award in connection with his work on a historic maritime pollution case. He has been married for almost thirty-two years to Betsy. They have six children & six grandchildren