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Press Release

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer Announces Departure from Department of Justice

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division will leave the department on March 1, 2013.

“Lanny has led one of the most successful and aggressive Criminal Divisions in the history of the Department of Justice, accomplishing record penalties in corruption cases at home and abroad and dismantling major organized crime and health care fraud networks around the country while also protecting the integrity of our banking systems and fighting financial fraud,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “Throughout his tenure, Lanny has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the mission of this Department and I want to thank him for his dedication and exceptional service.”

 “Serving as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division has been the greatest privilege of my professional life,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “From my first day on this job, nearly four years ago, I have loved it, and I am so proud of what the Criminal Division has accomplished over the past four years.  I have had no higher honor than to work alongside the talented and dedicated men and women of the Criminal Division, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve the American people together with them.”

 Assistant Attorney General Breuer was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 20, 2009, and is the longest-serving head of the Criminal Division in recent history.
 Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Breuer, the Criminal Division has taken significant steps to fight corruption at home and abroad, including by developing the innovative Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative to identify and forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption – ensuring that corrupt officials from other countries are prevented from hiding their ill-gotten gains in the United States.  The Criminal Division has also substantially increased enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), convicting three dozen individuals for FCPA-related offenses – a record number – and entering into more than 40 corporate resolutions involving eight of the top 10 largest FCPA penalties in history.  The Criminal Division also partnered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to publish groundbreaking guidance on FCPA enforcement.

 Assistant Attorney General Breuer was asked by the Attorney General to oversee the Deepwater Horizon Task Force – created to investigate conduct leading up to, and following, the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010.  The Task Force reached the largest criminal resolution in U.S. history with BP.  On Jan. 29, 2013, BP was ordered to pay $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties after previously having agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony manslaughter charges, environmental crimes and obstruction of congress.  The Criminal Division brought charges against four individuals in connection with the explosion and its aftermath as part of the ongoing investigation.  Additionally, Assistant Attorney General Breuer has overseen efforts to combat fraud arising from the oil spill, as well as to detect and deter fraud in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, through the Disaster Fraud Task Force.

Protecting the integrity of the banking system and fighting financial fraud have been hallmarks of the Criminal Division during Assistant Attorney General Breuer’s tenure.  The division’s aggressive, ongoing investigation into manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate by global financial institutions has thus far led to nearly $2 billion in criminal penalties, as well as a guilty plea by a UBS subsidiary and charges against individuals.  Assistant Attorney General Breuer also spearheaded the development of the division’s Money Laundering and Bank Integrity Unit to pursue financial institutions and individuals who violate money laundering statutes and the Bank Secrecy Act.  Along with U.S. Attorney partners, the groundbreaking unit already has secured approximately $3.1 billion in criminal forfeitures from major financial institutions – including the largest forfeiture ever by a bank. 

 The Criminal Division has also prosecuted, together with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, numerous significant perpetrators of financial fraud, including Lee Bentley Farkas, former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, who perpetrated an approximately $3 billion bank fraud; and R. Allen Stanford, former chairman of Stanford International Bank, who perpetrated a $7 billion investment fraud scheme.  Both were convicted at trial and are serving 30 and 110 years in prison, respectively.

 Assistant Attorney General Breuer has also focused on combating healthcare fraud, helping to expand the Medicare Fraud Strike Force from two to nine cities and to carry out the two largest Medicare fraud takedowns in history, one involving 111 defendants charged and the other involving $452 million in alleged fraudulent billings.

 The Criminal Division under Assistant Attorney General Breuer’s leadership, working alongside its partners at U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has pursued innovative cybercrime and intellectual property crime prosecutions.  Those prosecutions include the indictment of Megaupload and its leadership for intellectual property infringement in one of the largest criminal copyright cases brought by the United States.

 During Assistant Attorney General Breuer’s tenure, the Criminal Division has made great strides in the fight against violent crime along the southwest border and across the country.  Among other successes, the division, along with several U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, brought charges against 127 members and associates of La Cosa Nostra in the largest traditional organized crime takedown in U.S. history.  The Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney partners also have brought prosecutions against 35 Barrio Azteca gang members and associates – including those allegedly responsible for the death of a U.S. Consular official and others in Juarez, Mexico, on March 13, 2010; individuals allegedly responsible for the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata; and dozens of members and associates of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, including the gang’s top “generals.”  Assistant Attorney General Breuer has traveled frequently to Mexico to develop close relationships with Mexican counterparts and created new prosecutorial units dedicated to targeting Mexican cartels and seizing their assets.  In 2012, the Criminal Division secured 115 extraditions from Mexico, a record for a calendar year.

Along with these new or expanded teams and initiatives, Assistant Attorney General Breuer has taken significant steps to reform the Criminal Division to meet the needs of the modern law enforcement climate, including creating the Organized Crime and Gang Section and the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and hiring hundreds of talented prosecutors and several new Section Chiefs into the division.

In his role as head of the Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General Breuer has engaged on issues of criminal law policy throughout the United States and around the world, delivering dozens of keynote and special addresses across the country as well as in Russia, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Romania, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Spain and at the World Bank and United Nations.

 Prior to joining the Justice Department, Assistant Attorney General Breuer was a partner in the law firm of Covington and Burling LLP.  He earlier served as special counsel to President William Jefferson Clinton, and began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan.  He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 13-128