The Criminal Division is the largest division in the office and includes the following units:
The Appellate Unit is responsible for all aspects of the office's appellate practice, both criminal and civil. The primary function of the Appellate Unit is to ensure that the arguments presented in all appeal briefs filed by the office are consistent with the legal positions taken in other cases and by the Department of Justice and meet the standards for good appellate practice. Similarly, the Unit is responsible for ensuring AUSAs are well prepared for oral arguments and are effective advocates for the government's position. The Appellate Unit also provides legal advice to the office, and is responsible for updating the staff on a daily basis regarding appellate opinions and changes in the law and federal rules that may impact the work of the office.
The Complex Crimes Unit prosecutes white collar and other types of sophisticated crime. The Unit focuses on criminal cases involving public corruption, corporate and investment fraud, computer crimes, environmental crime, health care fraud and other types of fraud. In each of these areas, the Complex Crimes Unit promotes and manages collaborative working relationships, both formal and informal, with federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The Unit has substantial experience and expertise in the prosecution of investment, securities, and corporate fraud. It works primarily with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service, Postal Inspection Service, and Inspectors General of various federal agencies. It also coordinates with state and local law enforcement and civil enforcement organizations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Securities Division of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, and the National Association of Securities Dealers.
The Complex Crimes Unit also includes a group of Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) attorneys. As one of a dozen offices in major U.S. cities that includes a CHIP group, we focus on crimes involving computers and the Internet, including computer intrusions, intellectual property violations, and Internet fraud. The CHIP group develops cases hand-in-hand with federal law enforcement, and with state and local law enforcement through the Cyber Crime Task Force established by this office in partnership with the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service.
The Criminal Enterprises Unit identifies, investigates, and prosecutes organized criminal groups operating in Western Washington that are involved in drug and non-drug criminal enterprises. Emphasis is placed on multi-agency participation, extensive financial investigations, use of electronic surveillance, and close coordination with other U.S. Attorney's Offices conducting similar investigations.
The Unit's attorneys work with agents from the DEA, FBI, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ATF, and other federal agencies. The crimes investigated include drug trafficking, gambling, extortion, alien smuggling, and other federal offenses committed by criminal organizations. Many of the drug investigations are approved and partially funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program, a federal multi-agency investigative effort.
The General Crimes Unit handles primarily reactive criminal cases. Cases prosecuted by this unit span the gamut of federal crimes, including narcotics distribution, border crimes, thefts, false statements, violations of immigration laws, illegal firearms, mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, counterfeiting, crimes of violence, and crimes against children. The Unit's activities focus mainly on non-organized crimes, and shorter-term investigations. The General Crimes Unit works with virtually all federal agencies, as well as with state and local law enforcement authorities to promote the Office's mission of cooperation and coordination among all law enforcement agencies.
The primary objective of the Terrorism and Violent Crimes unit is to combat terrorism. The unit is committed to vigorously prosecuting those who commit or intend to commit terrorist acts in the Western District of Washington. The unit includes a Terrorism Coordinator who is responsible for working closely with all federal, state, and local agencies to coordinate the sharing of information relating to terrorist activity in the district and all investigations into terrorism related crimes.
In addition to terrorism, the unit aggressively prosecutes gun crimes as part of the Project Safe Neighborhood Program. The office works closely with state and local investigators and prosecutors to identify the most violent felons for federal prosecution. Additionally, the unit works to reduce the supply of illegal guns by prosecuting corrupt gun dealers and individuals who illegally sell guns at gun shows.
The unit is also responsible for prosecuting armed bank robberies and other federal crimes of violence, as well as violent crimes and sexual assaults that occur on the 23 Indian Reservations within the Western District of Washington.