The Criminal Division is responsible for prosecuting cases arising from a vast array of federal criminal offenses. To build their cases, Assistant U.S. Attorneys work closely with all of the federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, as well as the offices of inspector general of the various federal agencies and executive branch departments. Prosecutors also coordinate their efforts with the Virginia Attorney General and Commonwealth Attorney’s Offices throughout the Eastern District of Virginia to use every tool available to protect the public, enforce the law and deter crime.
National Security and International Crime Unit
In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office created the National Security and International Crime Unit, replacing its former unit strictly focused on terrorism and national security and broadening it to include international organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering.
The organization shift occurred to combat the reality that transnational organizations are not only a danger overseas. Their product – whether it is ideology, drugs, or other crimes – infiltrates and threatens those in the United States and this District. Long known for its expertise in espionage and terrorism cases, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is using that expertise to help fight major international crime threats before they reach Northern Virginia, Richmond, or Tidewater.
Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit
In light of the recent economic crisis, prosecuting financial crimes is a high priority for the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has made strategic shifts in detecting, disrupting, and deterring fraud.
The Office is aggressively pursuing fraud cases of national impact within the District using several unique venue options. In addition, the Office has created the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force, which is an unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators equipped to build complex fraud cases with victims throughout the country. This unified approach has been mirrored within the Office as well, as criminal and civil attorneys are investigating fraud targets simultaneously to determine whether a criminal or a civil tool is the best approach in a particular case.
Public corruption has also been a focal point of the U.S. Attorney’s office in recent years. Covering the capital of Virginia and the residences of many of the nation’s lawmakers, the Eastern District of Virginia plays an integral role in ensuring that those who hold public office live up to the public’s trust.
Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit
Prosecutors within the Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit develop cases against a broad range of criminal activity, largely focused on gangs and violent crime, child sex trafficking, and major narcotics distribution organizations operating within the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Office has sponsored a human trafficking task force in northern Virginia and is proactively investigating allegations of trafficking by massage parlors, prostitution rings, gangs and room salons. The initiative also aims to aggressively work to identify victims of labor trafficking to ensure that vulnerable immigrants to the District are not exploited by their employers.
The Cybercrime Unit is responsible for combating computer intrusion, child pornography, and intellectual property crimes committed in or otherwise affecting the Eastern District of Virginia. Prosecutors in the Unit frequently work with investigators, other government agencies, victims, and foreign counterparts to bring and/or investigate criminal violations in a variety of subject areas, which usually involve the Internet. Such cases range from large scale copyright infringement to hard goods counterfeiting to software piracy to trade secret theft; production, distribution, and receipt of images and videos of the sexual abuse of children; online enticement of minors by predators to engage in sexual activity; and the use of computers to commit fraud and other offenses.
An integral part of the Department’s Project Safe Childhood program, the Cybercrime Unit has regularly works directly with the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. In recent years, Unit prosecutors have been involved in a number of joint operations with the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and have been at the forefront of the Department’s efforts to combat intellectual property theft in the United States and around the world.
The Specials Unit consists of attorneys on detail and loan from the Department of Justice and other federal agencies, who work under the direction of two supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorneys. This Unit handles all of the Alexandria Division’s traffic cases and misdemeanors, as well as a wide variety of general and major felony cases. In addition, attorneys in the Specials Unit also staff many of the preliminary proceedings for the office’s felony cases, including initial appearances and detention hearings.