Organization, Mission and Functions Manual: Criminal Division

 

Criminal Division Org Chart

Organization Chart text version

The Criminal Division was created by Attorney General Palmer in his reorganization of the Department of Justice in 1919.

The mission of the Criminal Division is to serve the public interest through the enforcement of criminal statutes in a vigorous, fair, and effective manner; to exercise general supervision over the enforcement of all federal criminal laws, with the exception of those statutes specifically assigned to the Antitrust, Civil Rights, Environment and Natural Resources, or Tax Divisions; and to build the capacity of our foreign rule of law counterparts.

The major functions of the Division are to:

  • Develop, enforce, and supervise the application of all federal criminal laws, except those specifically assigned to other divisions of the Department.
     
  • Conduct and supervise a wide range of criminal investigations and prosecutions, including international and national drug trafficking and money laundering organizations; international organized crime groups; corrupt public officials; human rights violators; domestic and international child exploitation enterprises; domestic and international hackers; and individuals and organizations responsible for financial fraud and misconduct.
     
  • Approve and oversee the use of the most sophisticated investigative authorities in the federal arsenal, including reviewing all federal electronic surveillance requests in criminal cases and authorizing participation in the Witness Security Program.
     
  • Advise the Attorney General and other senior leadership within the Executive Branch on matters of criminal law.
     
  • Coordinate with foreign countries to secure the return of fugitives and obtain evidence and other assistance from abroad, and assure that the United States meets its reciprocal obligations to treaty partners.
     
  • Formulate and implement criminal enforcement policy and provide advice and assistance to all levels of the law enforcement community, including providing training to federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigative agencies.
     
  • Help develop and strengthen foreign criminal justice systems that can combat transnational criminal organizations and terrorism consistent with international standards and in furtherance of U.S. national security.
     
  • Build capacity of foreign law enforcement and rule of law counterparts through training, mentorship, and the deployment of Criminal Division attachés to embassies around the world.


The Division’s major responsibilities include:

  • Public integrity – Leading federal prosecution of public corruption and election crime cases nationwide by identifying, investigating, and litigating such matters; providing expertise, guidance, and direction to other federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents in the field; and ensuring that sensitive public corruption and election crime matters are handled in an effective, consistent, and appropriate manner across the country.
     
  • Human rights and special prosecutions – Investigating and prosecuting cases related to human rights violations, international violent crime, and complex immigration crimes; pursuing the U.S. Government’s commitment to holding accountable human rights violators and war criminals, both as a domestic law enforcement imperative and as a contribution to the global effort to end impunity.
     
  • Fraud – Investigating and prosecuting sophisticated and multi-jurisdictional white-collar criminal cases against individuals and companies, focusing on the prosecution of: (1) securities, commodities, and investment fraud cases, in addition to a broader array of financial and corporate fraud, including government procurement fraud, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, and consumer fraud; (2) health care fraud and opioid-related cases involving patient harm, large financial loss to the public fisc, and/or the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids; and (3) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, which includes the bribery of foreign government officials; coordinating nationwide operations targeting COVID relief fraud, health care fraud and opioid-related cases; providing advice and input to Criminal Division leadership on the development, revision, and implementation of corporate enforcement policies aimed at providing greater transparency to the business community about the Department’s approach to corporate enforcement.
     
  • Child sexual exploitation – Prosecuting high-impact cases involving online child sexual abuse material, the online grooming and inducement of children by sexual predators, sex trafficking of children, sexual abuse of children abroad by U.S. nationals, and enforcement of sex offender registration laws; providing forensic assistance to federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents in investigating and prosecuting these crimes; coordinating nationwide operations targeting child predators; conducting training and outreach to increase capacity across the national and around the world to address these crimes; and developing national and international policy initiatives and legislative proposals related to these issues.
     
  • Computer crime and intellectual property crime – Preventing, investigating, and prosecuting computer crimes (such as intrusions and damage) and intellectual property crimes (such as trade secret theft), particularly those that are complex or widespread; improving the infrastructure—security, partnership, legal, and operational—to deter and pursue criminals most effectively; resolving unique legal and investigative issues raised by emerging technologies; and leading international efforts, coordination, and outreach to combat these crimes.
     
  • Narcotics and dangerous drugs – Combating domestic and international drug trafficking and narco-terrorism; drawing on available intelligence to prosecute individuals and criminal organizations posing the most significant drug trafficking threat to the United States; enforcing laws that criminalize the extraterritorial manufacture or distribution of controlled substances intended for the United States; and facilitating the provision of targeted intelligence support to the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies worldwide.
     
  • Organized crime – Overseeing the Department’s program to combat organized crime by: investigating and prosecuting nationally and internationally significant organized crime organizations and gangs; exercising approval authority over all proposed federal prosecutions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) statutes; supporting criminal prosecutions of federal crimes involving labor-management disputes, the internal affairs of labor unions in the private sector, and the operation of employee pension and welfare benefit plans, including privately funded employee health care plans; working with U.S. intelligence agencies and U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies to identify, target, and investigate transnational organized crime groups; and contributing to the development of policy and legislation relating to numerous organized crime-related issues, including gambling and human trafficking.
     
  • Sensitive investigative techniques - Overseeing the use of the most sophisticated investigative tools at the Department’s disposal; reviewing federal electronic and video surveillance requests; authorizing participation in the Federal Witness Security Program; and reviewing requests for witness immunity, attorney and press subpoenas, applications for S-Visa status, and the imposition of special administrative measures to further restrict the confinement conditions of certain very dangerous persons in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.
     
  • International affairs - Securing the international extradition or otherwise lawful return of fugitives wanted in the U.S. to face federal, state, or local criminal charges; making requests to gather foreign evidence on behalf of federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigators to support U.S. prosecutions; securing the extradition or otherwise lawful removal of criminal fugitives located in the U.S. on behalf of our foreign partners; gathering U.S. based evidence, including electronic evidence, on behalf of foreign authorities to prosecute criminal offenses overseas; transferring sentenced persons to and from foreign countries to serve the remainder of their prison sentences; negotiating and implementing law enforcement treaties; providing guidance to prosecutors and investigators on legal and policy issues arising in sensitive transnational investigations; representing the Department at multilateral fora involving international criminal justice issues; and providing critical advice to the Attorney General and other principals of the Department on matters involving international law enforcement cooperation and comparative criminal law and practice.
     
  • Foreign law enforcement capacity building – Building the capacity of foreign police, criminal and anti-corruption investigative entities, border and maritime security forces, as well as forensic, cyber, and correctional agencies to combat corruption, transnational criminal organizations, and terrorist networks before these security threats reach the U.S. borders; creating capacity for operational interoperability by providing U.S. law enforcement with effective foreign partners with whom they can address terrorism and complex crimes that impact the United States; and, protecting the homeland by advancing global peace, security and good governance through the development of fair and effective foreign criminal justice systems that serve and protect all citizens, adhere to the rule of law, and are recognized and respected partners in the international community.
     
  • Overseas prosecutorial development, assistance and training – Building strong foreign partners to combat transnational crimes as well as to identify and address criminal activities before they reach our shores; providing expert assistance and case-based mentoring to foreign counterparts to strengthen and implement capabilities to investigate and prosecute organized crime (including gangs and cartels), terrorism, terrorism financing, money laundering and economic crimes, corruption, cybercrime, intellectual property crime, trafficking in persons, trafficking in narcotics, and other transnational criminal activities; helping to reform foreign justice institutions, legislation, and procedures to promote and protect the rule of law; designing and conducting overseas programs that align with, reinforce, and further U.S. law enforcement and national security objectives.
     
  • Policy and legislation - Developing, reviewing, and evaluating national crime, sentencing, and corrections policy and legislation to enhance public safety and the delivery of justice; utilizing analytics and data science to better understand the incidence of crime and improve the effectiveness of Division enforcement programs; serving as the Department’s representative to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules, and the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section.
     
  • Appeals - Preparing briefs and arguing cases in the courts of appeals; drafting briefs and certiorari petitions for the Solicitor General for filing in the U.S. Supreme Court; and making recommendations to the Solicitor General as to whether further review is warranted on adverse criminal decisions in the district courts and courts of appeals.
     
  • Capital cases - Advising on factual and legal issues relevant to capital eligible cases and decisions to seek the death penalty; providing legal, procedural, and policy guidance and direct litigation support to United States Attorney’s Offices handling capital investigations and prosecutions.
     
  • Money laundering and asset recovery - Pursuing criminal prosecutions against financial institutions and individuals engaged in money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act, and sanctions violations; pursuing the proceeds of high level foreign corruption through the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative; developing legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives to combat global illicit finance; returning forfeited criminal proceeds to benefit those harmed by crime through remission and restoration processes; and providing legal and policy assistance and training to federal, state, and local prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, as well as to foreign governments.

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Updated October 8, 2021

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