FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
MONDAY, JULY 18, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
ENRON TASK FORCE DIRECTOR ANDREW WEISSMANN TO STEP DOWN,
SEAN BERKOWITZ NAMED DIRECTOR
Kathryn Ruemmler Named Task Force Deputy Director
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting Assistant Attorney General John Richter of the Criminal Division announced today that Andrew Weissmann will step down as Director of the Justice Department’s specially-formed Enron Task Force, after more than three-and-a-half years on the prosecutorial team, including 17 months as director.
The Task Force is a group of federal prosecutors and FBI and IRS agents tasked with investigating the collapse of Enron Corp. Weissmann will be replaced by Sean Berkowitz, who has been with the Task Force since December 2003. Kathy Ruemmler, who joined the Task Force in September 2003, will become Deputy Director. In addition, two new prosecutors have been added to the Task Force.
Weissmann has been with the Enron Task Force since its inception in January 2002. He came to the Task Force from his position as Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, where he supervised over 100 criminal prosecutors and oversaw all the criminal work of that office. While there, he successfully prosecuted scores of white-collar defendants as well as a series of organized crime leaders, including Vincent Gigante, who feigned mental illness for decades.
Since its inception, the Enron Task Force has brought charges against 34 defendants, including Enron’s former Chairman Kenneth Lay, Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey, Treasurer Ben Glisan, and other high and mid-level Enron and Merrill Lynch executives. Weissmann led the investigations into Andrew and Lea Fastow, Ben Glisan, David Duncan, and the five defendants convicted after trial in the Enron-Merrill Lynch “Nigerian Barge” parking scheme. He also served as the lead prosecutor in the trial of Arthur Andersen in the spring of 2002, and successfully implemented deferred prosecution agreements with innovative monitorship provisions with respect to two financial institutions - Merrill Lynch and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). To date, the Task Force has restrained more than $165 million in proceeds derived by the defendants from criminal activity.
“The Enron Task Force has been extremely effective in bringing to justice those responsible for perhaps the most notorious corporate scandal in U.S. history,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richter. “Andrew has been an integral part of the Task Force since its inception, first as Deputy Director and then Director. I am confident that the new leadership team will continue Andrew’s example of strong and professional leadership.”
Berkowitz and Ruemmler came to the Task Force from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., respectively. Along with co-lead prosecutor John Hueston, Berkowitz and Ruemmler are assigned to prosecute U.S. v. Causey, et al, which is currently scheduled to begin in January 2006.
Richter also announced that two new prosecutors have joined the Task Force: Robb Adkins, who is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California, and Leo Wise, who was an attorney on the tobacco litigation task force in Washington, D.C.