Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Hosts the 64th Annual Attorney General’s Awards Ceremony Honoring Justice Department Employees and Others for Their Service
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch recognized 376 Justice Department employees for their distinguished public service today at the 64th Annual Attorney General’s Awards Ceremony. Forty-seven other individuals outside of the department were also honored for their work. This annual ceremony recognizes individuals for their outstanding service and dedication to carrying out the missions of the Department of Justice.
“The Attorney General’s Awards provide us with a rare opportunity to honor the efforts of outstanding department employees and our invaluable partners across the federal government and at the state and local levels,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Their work has made our nation – and our world – stronger, safer and more just, and I am proud of and inspired by each and every one of them.”
The Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service is the department’s highest award for employee performance. This year’s award was presented to the team responsible for the investigation and prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. On April 15, 2013, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two powerful improvised explosive devices near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three, maiming 17 and injuring hundreds more in the largest mass-casualty terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Following a manhunt during which the brothers killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shoot-out with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested. Members of the FBI’s Boston Field Office oversaw a worldwide investigation that involved more than 6,000 items of physical and digital evidence, over 100,000 photographs and videos and more than 1,000 witness interviews. Tsarnaev was charged in a 30-count indictment with numerous crimes of terrorism and other violent offenses. Over the course of a 10-week trial, the prosecution team introduced over 1,000 exhibits and called more than 100 witnesses to the stand, including 14 victims who lost limbs in the bombings; family members of the murdered; other survivors and eye witnesses; fingerprint, DNA, bomb, ballistics and terrorism experts; and law enforcement officers. The prosecutors also cross-examined nearly 50 defense witnesses during the penalty-phase defense case. A jury found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts in the indictment. He was sentenced to death on six counts and to life in prison on 11 other counts, and was ordered to pay $101 million in restitution to the victims.
The recipients of the Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service include, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aloke S. Chakravarty, James B. Farmer and William D. Weinreb, Community Outreach Program Manager Cara M. Henderson, Acting Executive Officer Christina DiIorio-Sterling and Victim/Witness Specialist Kathleen M. Griffin and Jessica M. Pooler; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Mellin; from the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section, Trial Attorney Jeffrey B. Kahan; from the FBI’s Legal Attache in Ottawa, Supervisory Special Agent Courtland D. Rae; from the FBI’s Boston Field Office, Special Agents David S. Bell and Timothy D. Brown and Photographer Michelle M. Gamble; from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, Trial Attorneys David P. Cora, Gregory R. Gonzalez and Joseph N. Kaster, Legal Administrative Specialist Pamela J. Hall, Litigation Support Manager Laura P. Galban and Paralegal Specialist Jamie M. Haydel; from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) District of Massachusetts, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin W. Neal, Acting Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeffrey L. Bohn, Deputy U.S. Marshals Jesse Donaruma, Matthew Lawlor and Robert M. Lima and Protective Intelligence Investigator Jonathan A. Lemay; from the USMS Judicial Security Division, Assistant Chief Inspector Gregory C. Petchel; from the USMS Prisoner Operations Division, Assistant Chief Inspector Charles Hardison; from the USMS Tactical Operations Division, Deputy Commanders Harry W. Little and Mark S. Walker and Special Operations Group Inspectors Richard “Todd” Jordan and Leigh N. Marchegiani; and from the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Special Agent Christopher J. Bould.
The Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Heroism is given to recognize an extraordinary act of courage and voluntary risk of life during the performance of official duties. The recipients of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Heroism are, from the USMS Northern District of Indiana, Supervisory Inspector Diego Grimaldo, Investigative Operations Division Inspector Erick D. Brown and Deputy U.S. Marshal Kenneth E. Hausmann.
While working on a task force investigating the location of a dangerous fugitive, who was wanted in Indiana for multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, Grimaldo, Brown and Hausmann tracked the fugitive to his sister’s apartment. The team was joined by officers from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). As they approached the apartment, the group encountered gunfire coming from inside the building. A captain with the CPD was struck in the head and shoulder and fell to the ground. Hausmann immediately administered first aid to the captain, while Grimaldo and Brown returned gunfire. Within minutes, Grimaldo managed to make his way to a nearby apartment, signal to officers to call an ambulance and organize a plan to safely evacuate the injured captain. As Hausmann assisted with safely evacuating the captain to the ambulance, the fugitive continued to engage Grimaldo and Brown in gunfire. SWAT team members soon arrived and eventually took the fugitive into custody. Thanks to the team’s extraordinary courage in carrying out their duties under a life-threatening situation, the police captain survived and has returned to full duty.
The Mary C. Lawton Lifetime Service Award recognizes employees who have served at least 20 years in the department and have demonstrated high standards of excellence and dedication throughout their careers. This award is presented only in exceptional circumstances to those individuals of special merit and is not awarded to express general appreciation for tenure alone. This year’s Mary C. Lawton Lifetime Service Award is presented to Monty Wilkinson, Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
In his 25 years with the department, Wilkinson has been a skilled and respected manager whose leadership has made a tremendous impact in his offices, in his community and in the department as a whole. Throughout his career, Wilkinson has abided by a leadership style that focuses on nurturing relationships, fostering respect, maximizing potential, maintaining excellence, promoting a strong sense of service and achieving results. He has served in leadership roles in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office of the Attorney General and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. In each position, Wilkinson has excelled by personifying professionalism, wisdom, judgment, savvy, dedication and perseverance.
The William French Smith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cooperative Law Enforcement is an honorary award granted to recognize state and local law enforcement officials who have made significant contributions to cooperative law enforcement endeavors.
This year’s recipients are, from the Detroit Police Department, Sergeants Ian M. Becker and David Wasmund and Task Force Officers Jason R. Criner, Treva L. Eaton, Darell Fitzgerald and Anthony Jones; from the Livonia Police Department, Sergeant Gregory Yon; from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Task Force Officer Brian W. Behrend; from the Michigan State Police, Task Force Officers Jacob D. Liss, Todd A. Poppema, William F. Prince and Korey A. Rowe; from the Dearbon Police Department, Task Force Officer Steven Faith; and from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Task Force Officers Daniel J. Carmona, Raymon M. Alam, Brian Rinehart and David Weinman.
On March 2, 2015, the USMS Task Force in Indianapolis requested aid from the USMS Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team to assist with an Amber Alert case for two children abducted at gunpoint from their homes in Indiana. The team immediately responded by coordinating with multiple state and local law enforcement and the Detroit FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, resulting in a quick and thorough investigation and rescue of the two children. The recipients’ experience in cooperative law enforcement was evident in the swift and safe rescue and arrests that occurred without harm to the children or the community. The established partnerships and cooperation between the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were crucial to the successful investigation and rescue in this abduction case and in the many other cases the team works on a daily basis. The team’s performance, dedication and cooperative efforts saved the lives of two abducted children and made the community’s period of fear short-lived. The lives of the children could have turned out very differently if not for the excellent participation and cooperative interagency effort made by the six state and local law enforcement agencies that make up this team of exceptional officers.
The Attorney General’s Award for Meritorious Public Service is the top public service award granted by the department, and is designed to recognize the most significant contributions of citizens and organizations that have assisted the department in the accomplishment of its mission and objectives. This year’s recipient is Michael J. Nila, the founder of Blue Courage.
Nila is honored for his significant contributions to state and local law enforcement and communities nationwide. During his law enforcement career, he recognized a significant gap between what we want our country’s police officers to be and how the law enforcement profession is currently educating its personnel. To address this gap, Nila developed Blue Courage, a blend of education, principles, practices, skills and tools that foster a culture of leadership, character and service. Blue Courage focuses on the heart and mind which represents the foundation to making good decisions and enhancing the capacity to serve honorably. Today, over 10,000 officers have been trained in Blue Courage and its principles are now infused in recruiting and police academy curricula in four states, with an additional 10 states competing to go through the process. As a direct result of Blue Courage training, officers are more in tune with and aware of their thoughts and behaviors. Furthermore, they have tools to become centered and balanced, and are reminded of why they joined the law enforcement profession. Through Blue Courage, Nila has demonstrated he is a committed and effective partner in the department’s efforts to inspire and engage our nation’s state and local law enforcement officers, and to strengthen relationships with communities nationwide.
The Edward H. Levi Award for Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity is presented to pay tribute to the memory and achievements of former Attorney General Edward H. Levi, whose career as an attorney, law professor, dean and public servant exemplified these qualities in the best traditions of the department. This year’s award is presented to Lee J. Lofthus, the Assistant Attorney General for Administration.
Lofthus exemplifies the very best in executive leadership and has demonstrated three decades of dedication to public service which have resulted in outstanding organizational achievements. As the U.S. Department of Justice’s Senior Management Official, he provides effective leadership, directing diverse and complicated financial and budgetary programs, human resources, procurement, facilities, security and information technology activities. His career in public service has been distinguished by an unfaltering dedication to lead, motivate and inspire people. His vision, adaptability and commitment to customer service enable him to direct organizations through many complex endeavors and times of uncertainty. He has transformed the department’s administrative processes through innovative technologies and the recruitment and retention of talented and diverse leadership. On the financial side, since 2004, Lofthus accomplished a rare feat in that he was able to get clean audits for the department for 12 straight years and for nine straight years, the auditor’s report on internal control identified no material weaknesses at the consolidated level. Lofthus has played a central role in developing budget strategies in direct response to the initiatives of several Attorneys General in the areas of counterterrorism, national security and the administration of justice. He has provided unmatched leadership in initiatives to provide funding to state and local law enforcement entities throughout the department. Lofthus is well-known and respected in a variety of public and private arenas, and he is commonly sought out to advise and speak on a variety of challenging government-wide financial and budgetary-based initiatives.
The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service is the Justice Department’s second-highest award for employee performance. The recipients of this award exemplify the highest commitment to the department’s mission. Seventeen Distinguished Service Awards are presented this year to individuals or teams of people.
The first Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Violent Crime Intelligence Division, Special Agents Tolliver L. Hart and Clinton F. Kehr, Intelligence Research Specialists Lianne S. Binckes, Robert D. Blevins and Jenise Ramos, Industry Operations Intelligence Specialists Jill M. Hansen and Nicholas A. Speranza Jr., Intelligence Program Specialist Daniel R. Mullins, Information Technology Specialists Laurie J. Powers and John E. Trice and Management Analyst Rhonda M. Butler; and from ATF’s Office of Chief Counsel, Attorney Ellen V. Endrizzi.
ATF’s Internet Investigations Center (IIC) is recognized for its outstanding determination, perseverance and subject-matter expertise to support ATF’s work to combat internet-based firearms crimes and related violations. The team, in conjunction with department guidance, drafted ATF’s internet investigations policy and established numerous standard operating procedures for ATF’s investigative and intelligence footprint online. The recipients also provided current, pertinent training to law enforcement audiences both inside and outside of ATF. Through the use of advanced technology, coupled with finely honed analytic and investigative skills, IIC personnel made its mark on illegal firearms transactions on all levels of the internet. This work was not only commended by partner law enforcement agencies, but the team was also recognized by an illicit Darknet vendor that named ATF specifically as one of the reasons it ceased illegal firearms transactions on its website.
The second Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Antitrust Division’s Litigation III Section, Section Chief David C. Kully and Trial Attorneys William H. Jones II, John R. Read, Adam C. Speegle and Nathan P. Sutton; from the Antitrust Division’s Appellate Section, Section Chief Kristen C. Limarzi and Trial Attorney Shana M. Wallace; from the Antitrust Division’s Washington II Criminal Section, Trial Attorney Daniel McCuaig; from the Antitrust Division’s Economic Regulatory Section, Assistant Section Chief Jeffrey M. Wilder and Economist Alexander Raskovich; from the Antitrust Division’s Economic Litigation Section, Economists William T. Whalen and Tor Winston; from the Antitrust Division Litigation II Section, Assistant Section Chief Stephanie A. Fleming; and from the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, Trial Attorney Finnuala K. Tessier.
The Antitrust Division’s victory against Apple Inc. for orchestrating a conspiracy to raise the prices of e-books represents one of the most significant civil litigation victories that the division has achieved in over a decade, and it has led to state attorneys general and private plaintiffs recovering on behalf of harmed consumers approximately $566 million in damages. The recipients represented the United States in trial against Apple in June 2013 and successfully defended the case against Apple’s appeal. In April 2010, when Apple launched its iBookstore and entered the e-books market, U.S. e-book prices rose uniformly, in some instances as much as 50 percent. The division launched an investigation into possible coordination among e-book publishers and Apple and, in April 2012, brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging a conspiracy to raise e-book prices in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Over the course of the litigation, all the publishers settled with the federal government. However, Apple aggressively litigated the matter through a three-week trial in June 2013 before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who issued a 160-page order finding Apple liable for orchestrating a scheme among five of the six largest book publishers to raise e-book prices in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Apple’s vigorous efforts to pursue the matter on appeal ended in March 2016 when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rejected Apple’s petition for certiorari to review the Second Circuit’s decision affirming Judge Cote’s order. The litigation of this action and the precedent created by the trial court’s and Second Circuit’s decisions should deter those who in the future might contemplate violating U.S. antitrust laws.
The third Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, Section Chief Jeffrey D. Martino and Trial Attorneys Bryan C. Bughman, Joseph Muoio Jr. and Carrie A. Syme; from the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office, Trial Attorney Eric L. Schleef; from the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section, Trial Attorney George S. Baranko; from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Principal Deputy Chief Sandra L. Moser, Deputy Chief Benjamin Singer and former Deputy Chief Daniel A. Braun, Assistant Chief Albert B. Stieglitz Jr. and Trial Attorneys Melissa Aoyagi and Gary A. Winters; and from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Special Agents Jennifer Riker and Jeffrey Weeks and Forensic Accountant Kyle D. Dornbos.
The recipients, through their leadership, dedication and tireless investigation of price fixing and bid rigging, are responsible for the historic prosecution of five of the world’s largest financial institutions that agreed to pay fines in excess of $2.7 billion. The investigation uncovered a conspiracy that affected the U.S. Dollar to Euro exchange rate. These currencies are at the heart of international commerce, and the conspiracy undermined the integrity and the competitiveness of foreign currency exchange markets which account for hundreds of billions of dollars of transactions every day. The companies responsible for actions that eliminated competition in the marketplace were held accountable for their illegal conduct, which will hopefully deter financial institutions from chasing profits without regard to fairness, the law or the public welfare.
The fourth Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Office of the Solicitor General, Assistant to the Solicitor General Eric J. Feigin; from the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section, Chief Diana K. Flynn, Principal Deputy Chief Sharon M. McGowan and Trial Attorney Robert A. Koch; and from the Civil Division’s Appellate Staff, Director Douglas N. Letter and Attorneys Jeffrey E. Sandberg and Abby C. Wright.
In Obergefell v. Hodges, SCOTUS struck down state bans on marriage equality that denied to same-sex couples and their children the protections and benefits of marriage. In doing so, SCOTUS granted LGBT individuals equal access to marriage and vindicated the Obama Administration’s strong interest in the eradication of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This team is honored for its extraordinary work in this historic case. Under immense time pressures, the recipients worked collaboratively to craft a compelling, persuasive and successful legal brief on a seminal civil rights issue. The brief reiterated the department’s US v. Windsor position that classifications based on sexual orientation should trigger heightened scrutiny and described the harm that the state bans inflicted on same-sex couples and their families. In June 2015, SCOTUS issued a powerful decision extending the right to marry to same-sex couples and joining the ranks of landmark civil rights pronouncements from the court.
The fifth Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Deputy Chief Matthew R. Stiglitz, Special Counsel Stacey Luck and Paralegal Specialist Linda Faulk; from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, Associate Director Magdalena Boynton; from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Division, Judicial Attaché Marlon Cobar; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary; from the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Special Agent Charles M. Bryden and Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Raquel de la Huerta; from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, Supervisory Special Agent Rodney Cortes; from the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Unit Chief Edgar Cruz; from the FBI’s Legal Attaché Santo Domingo, Supervisory Special Agent N.I. Delgado Jr.; from the FBI’s Legal Attaché Bogota, Supervisory Special Agent Andres E. Quintero; from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Special Agent Beau Bourgeois; and from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Special Agent Suhaib Karim Qureshi.
On June 20, 2013, DEA Special Agent James Terry Watson was stabbed to death during an attempted kidnapping and robbery perpetrated by an organized group of taxi drivers in Bogota. A team of investigators and prosecutors was assembled, and working with their Colombian counterparts, they quickly identified seven individuals responsible for the murder and subsequent destruction of evidence. In an example of teamwork and coordination at its best, a complaint was filed and arrest warrants were obtained for the suspects within four days of the crime; within 18 months, the defendants’ extraditions were secured and they were all convicted. Because of the diligent work of those assigned to the case, justice was served for the family of Special Agent Watson.
The sixth Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Chief Steven J. Grocki and Deputy Chief Keith A. Becker; from the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Trial Attorney Sarah Chang; from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, Senior Trial Attorney Judith Friedman; from the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, Attorney David M. Lieberman; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Nebraska, Senior Litigation Counsel Michael. P. Norris and Paralegal Specialist Harolene J. Bailey; from the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel, General Attorney Joanne C. Pasquarelli; from the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, Unit Chief Alan S. Nanavaty, Supervisory Special Agents K. Paul Cha, J. Brooke Donahue and P. Michael Gordon and Intelligence Analyst Robert Plumb; from the FBI’s Cyber Division, Supervisory Special Agent Steven A. Smith Jr.; from the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, Supervisory Special Agent Daniel E. O’Donnell; and from the FBI’s Omaha Field Office, Special Agents Sara K. Stanley and Jeffrey D. Tarpinian.
The recipients are recognized for their involvement in Operation Torpedo, a precedent-setting investigation that used first-of-its-kind techniques to infiltrate the dark internet and identify individuals who, under the perceived cloak of anonymity, secretly congregated to trade images of children being sexually abused and to celebrate the sexual abuse of children. By developing and deploying a network investigative technique, with appropriate legal authority, investigators were able to identify members of three websites devoted to child pornography that were operating on an anonymous network. The investigation required round-the-clock efforts from agents, analysts and prosecutors, and rapid response to fast-breaking developments. Prosecutors successfully defended these novel investigations in court and have obtained convictions at every turn. The impact of this investigation cannot be overstated. It has pioneered investigative work into the dark web that has led to subsequent significant investigations by the Criminal Division and the FBI; the dismantling of more than 100 child exploitation websites; and the seizure of massive amounts of child exploitation material, the largest seizure of virtual currency to date and the discovery of 120 victims of child sexual exploitation.
The seventh Distinguished Service Award is presented to Deputy Chief Franz R. Marshall of the Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section. Marshall is recognized for his remarkable 43 years of service to the department, virtually all of which has been spent in the Civil Rights Division, where he has dedicated each day to breaking down barriers to educational opportunities for students across the country. Over the course of his career, he has represented the United States in hundreds of desegregation cases and through this work, Marshall has fiercely protected and embodied a core and founding mission of the Civil Rights Division, dismantling obstacles to opportunity and success in America’s public schools. Furthermore, Marshall has shaped the legal landscape and cleared paths to a better life for countless students. He has given voice to children and parents in communities throughout the United States, from Native Americans in the Four Corners to African Americans in the Louisiana Bayou. In short, no department lawyer has done more to open the schoolhouse doors to all children and to fulfill the principles and promise of Brown v. Board of Education.
The eighth Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Enforcement Section, Section Chief Thomas A. Mariani Jr., Assistant Section Chief William D. Brighton, Senior Litigation Counsel e-Discovery Sarah D. Himmelhoch, Senior Counsels Patrick M. Casey, Scott M. Cernich, Deanna J. Chang, Michael J. McNulty and Michael J. Zevenbergen, Senior Attorneys Nancy A. Flickinger and Steven R. O’Rourke, Trial Attorneys Abigail E. André and Rachel A. Hankey and Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Mark Fuller; from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Appellate Section, Trial Attorney Ellen J. Durkee; from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Law and Policy Section, Trial Attorney Judith B. Harvey; from the Civil Division’s Torts Branch - Aviation and Admiralty Section, West Coast Field Office Attorney-in-Charge R. Michael Underhill, Assistant Director Stephen G. Flynn, Senior Admiralty Counsel Michelle T. Delemarre, Trial Attorneys Malinda R. Lawrence, Jessica L. McClellan, Jill D. Rosa, Sharon K. Shutler and Jessica G. Sullivan; and from the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch – Fraud Section, Senior Trial Counsel Daniel A. Spiro.
To redress the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest oil spill in U.S. history, this team successfully pursued the companies responsible for this multimillion-barrel oil spill. The recipients resolved the nation’s civil claims against those companies for more than $6.6 billion in civil penalties; more than $8 billion in natural resource damages; hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup, assessment and other costs; and injunctive relief that should make for safer drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Under applicable law, the majority of these funds will fuel restoration of natural resources and some economic redevelopment in the Gulf of Mexico region. The matter is the department’s largest-ever environmental enforcement effort. The team’s work also made it possible for the five Gulf states and their local governments to settle their economic damage claims for sums approaching another $5.9 billion.
The ninth Distinguished Service Award is presented to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle B. Alvarez, Jeffrey N. Kaplan, Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Alison W. Lehr, Paul F. Schwartz, Evelyn B. Sheehan and Madeleine Shirley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
In October 2009, it was discovered that attorney Scott Rothstein was conducting one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history through the operation of the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt & Adler P.A. (RRA). The basis of the scheme was the sale of securities in which investors purchased the rights to a stream of payments from corporate entities which ostensibly had reached confidential settlements with purported plaintiffs in sexual harassment, employment discrimination and whistleblower cases. Settlements were available for purchase in amounts ranging from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. During the operation of the scheme, hundreds of investors remitted more than $1.2 billion to RRA, which funds were utilized to pay previous investors in the scheme to finance a lavish lifestyle for the participants, and to make political and charitable contributions which enhanced the prestige and visibility of RRA, thereby enhancing RRA’s ability to attract new investors. During the ensuing six years of litigation, 29 defendants, including attorneys and public officials, were convicted and sentenced on charges including racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, income tax fraud, campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, extortion and civil rights violations. Additionally, through forfeiture proceedings instituted by the government, coupled with proceedings in bankruptcy court and other ancillary civil proceedings, more than $400 million in assets were ultimately recovered, resulting in full restitution to the defrauded investors.
The 10th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. Cronan, Edward Y. Kim, Ian McGinley and Shane T. Stansbury, Criminal Investigator George F. Corey Jr. and Paralegal Specialists Melissa C. Danzo and Vanessa Quinoñes; from the FBI’s New York City Field Office, Special Agents Jonathan B. Geraci and Philip A. Swabsin; from the FBI’s New Haven Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent Michael S. Butsch; and from the National Security Division’s Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General George Z. Toscas.
For upwards of a decade, Abu Hamza stood as one of the most powerful, dangerous and recognizable terrorist leaders on the planet. Through his oratorical skills and sophisticated use of the internet, he indoctrinated his young, impressionable followers with his murderous message, inspiring the likes of Richard Reid, Zacarias Moussaoui and Mohammed Siddiqui Kahn. Additionally, Abu Hamza himself engaged in acts of terror that spanned the globe including the December 1998 hostage-taking in Yemen, which included two U.S. citizens and left four victims dead; the attempt to establish a terrorist training camp for al Qaeda on U.S. soil in late 1999; sending of one of his devoted followers to Afghanistan in 2000 to train and fight with al Qaeda; and supporting the Taliban from 2000 to 2001. Abu Hamza was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2004, but fought extradition for nearly a decade before he was extradited in October 2012. In preparing for trial, the recipients analyzed massive volumes of evidence recovered from across the globe, and identified witnesses in multiple continents to build and solidify a criminal case. The team also engaged in classified and unclassified litigation leading to and during trial, working in close coordination with the U.S. intelligence community to protect national security equities. Overcoming the inherent challenges in prosecuting a case where the conduct occurred approximately 15 years earlier, and where the evidence and witnesses were spread across the globe, the team secured a conviction on all 11 counts. Furthermore, Abu Hamza has been permanently incapacitated from future terrorist acts.
The 11th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent William J. DelBagno; from the FBI’s Seattle Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent Christian L. Parker, Special Agents Eric Jon Barker, Ryan D. Butler and David S. Whitlow, Forensic Accountant Jennifer J. Boswell, Intelligence Analyst Mark J. Fitterer and Staff Operations Specialist Morgan L. Reid; from the FBI’s International Operations Division, Supervisory Special Agent James B. Volkert; from the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate, Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Christina Ruetschlin; from the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Special Agent Paul C. Clark; from the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office, Special Agent James K. Shearer; from the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, Special Agent Mike P. Stahala; from the FBI’s New York City Field Office, Special Agent Sara H. Wood; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Washington, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Ohms.
The recipients are recognized for their involvement in Operation Short Fuse (OSF), an innovative online undercover operation operated by the FBI’s Seattle Division and WMD Directorate. OSF employs a highly specialized cadre of online covert employees and confidential human sources to detect, target and disrupt WMD threat actors operating in cyberspace. The operation works to fill a critical detection and intelligence gap by resolving the identity of subjects who have demonstrated the intent and capability to manufacture, distribute or purchase WMD while operating in anonymized, hidden marketplaces and forums devoted to the sale of prohibited items. OSF team members are subject matter experts in WMD investigations and the innovative use of online undercover techniques designed to pierce the veil of anonymity that most OSF subjects attempt to erect through the use of layered complex encryption and crypto-currency. To date, OSF has conducted undercover targeting operations in support of 95 FBI investigations, many of which began as a result of OSF intelligence collection. OSF has been responsible for the disruptions of 18 subjects who attempted to purchase, sell and/or use chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials in the United States and across the globe. These disruptions, often executed in coordination with international partners, undoubtedly prevented a significant loss of innocent life that would have otherwise resulted absent this sustained and extraordinary law enforcement effort.
The 12th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of New York, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven D. Clymer, Lisa M. Fletcher and Tamara B. Thomson; from the FBI’s Albany Field Office, Special Agent Frederick E. Bragg; and from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Special Agent Alix Skelton.
This team receives the award for its exceptional work in the case of US v. Stephen M. Howells II and Nicole Vaisey, which led to the recovery of two young girls who had been abducted, held captive and abused; the identification of four additional children who had been victimized by Howells and Vaisey; and the seizure of recordings and images of the defendants’ sexual abuse of children, as well as a large volume of child pornography depicting the sexual abuse of hundreds of other children, including infants and toddlers. This team’s herculean effort, thorough investigation and analysis, and exemplary advocacy led to the conviction of Howells and Vaisey on all charges and their sentences to 580 and 300 years of imprisonment, respectively, the aggregate statutory maximums.
The 13th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Colorado, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bishop Grewell, Suneeta Hazra and Valeria N. Spencer, Financial Analyst Dana L. Chamberlin, Victim/Witness Specialist Donna R. Summers and Supervisory Legal Assistant Valerie J. Nielson; from the FBI’s Denver Field Office, Special Agents Christopher A. Calarco, Jonathan D. Grusing and Patrick A. Kleckner; and from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Rocky Mountain National Park Special Agent Elizabeth A. Shott.
The team in US v. Henthorn is honored for its outstanding, innovative work in the investigation, trial and conviction of Harold Henthorn for pushing his wife to her death from a remote cliff to collect $4.5 million dollars in life insurance. Due to their dedication, painstaking work and powerful trial presentation, the recipients did what many thought was impossible by obtaining a conviction in this difficult and wholly circumstantial case. The team not only proved that Henthorn murdered his second wife but that he had also murdered his first wife some 20 years earlier. Through the course of hundreds of witness interviews, thousands of hours of work, meticulous analysis of computer forensic evidence, cell tower records and bank records, the team decisively proved that Henthorn carefully planned and executed two cold-blooded murders. Furthermore, the team convinced the jury to hold Henthorn accountable and found justice for the victims and their families.
The 14th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon D. Fox, Gregory A. Lesser, Lizabeth A. Rhodes and Ryan D. White; Legal Assistant Georgina Y. Moreno and Paralegal Specialist Adriana Abalos; and from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Special Agents David N. Dahle, Jason D. Dalton, Carlos A. Narro and Leah M. Tanner.
This team receives the award for the historic prosecution of the former Los Angeles County Sheriff and 17 other law enforcement officers who obstructed a federal investigation and used excessive force against those they were charged with protecting. The recipients convincingly showed that no one is above the law; just as important, they showed that no one is beneath the protections of the law. The team proved through its tireless efforts and perseverance that the department will uphold civil rights for all Americans and that attempts at obstructing federal investigations will be taken seriously.
The 15th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Cyber Division Supervisory Special Agent Brenda K. Born, Supervisory Special Agent Andrew Patrick Leithead, Special Agents Sean P. Clark, Jenny M. Cutalo-Patterson, Tonya Sturgill Griffith, Alicia M. McShane and Jennifer N. Edwards and Intelligence Analyst Heather L. Gordon Ph.D.; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea L. Hertzfeld, Cassidy M. Pinegar, Ari B. Redbord and Lindsay J. Suttenberg and Computer Forensic Examiner John E. Marsh; and from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, Detectives Jonathan K. Andrews Sr. and Timothy R. Palchak.
The Washington Metro Child Exploitation Task Force has played an instrumental role in identifying, disrupting and dismantling the most egregious perpetrators in child exploitation and human trafficking within the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and beyond its area of responsibilities. This team is recognized for its extraordinary dedication, innovative techniques and commitment in identifying and prosecuting these offenders. During 2014 and 2015, the work of the recipients resulted in the rescue of numerous children who were victims of ongoing abuse and exploitation. The task force also assisted in identifying and locating more than 60 victims of sexual abuse and child pornography.
The 16th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence, Supervisory Attorney-Advisors Alexandra Doumas, Stephen C. Eglin, Wendy L. Fritz and Kimberly A. Roemer. This team is honored for its exemplary leadership in response to an unprecedented and unrelenting series of terrorist threats against the U.S. homeland. As the supervisors of the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence Counterterrorism Unit, the awardees worked almost around-the-clock for several months to ensure that the FBI had at its disposal the legal authorities needed to further its investigations, including authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The team helped to advance critical counterterrorism investigations which resulted in the thwarting of various plots, and ultimately saving lives.
The 17th Distinguished Service Award is presented to, from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Evaluation and Inspections Division, Senior Inspector Kathleen E. Flanagan and Program Analysts Tanique D. Carter and Michael H. Chang.
This team led a comprehensive review of the impact that an aging inmate population has on the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The elimination of parole, use of mandatory minimum sentences, increases in average sentence length over the past three decades and an increase in white collar offenders and sex offenders, among other things, have contributed to the aging federal inmate population. The recipients were in the field for eight months, interviewing nearly 170 officials and staff from each of the BOP’s eight divisions, as well as 13 institutions. The team conducted site visits of institutions at all security levels, and did extensive document reviews and quantitative analysis spanning a five-year period. Policies applying to various aspects of the care of aging inmates were numerous and scattered among different program areas. To overcome limitations in available data, the team conducted wide-ranging quantitative analyses. The OIG report, issued in May 2015, found that aging inmates are more costly to incarcerate due to increased medical needs, that the physical infrastructure of BOP institutions limits the availability of appropriate housing for aging inmates and that BOP does not provide programming opportunities designed to meet their particular needs. The report also found that aging inmates engage in fewer misconduct incidents while incarcerated and, based on statistical review, appear to have a lower rate of re-arrest once released. Beyond merely identifying these issues, the report provided eight concrete recommendations to address them in order to assist BOP in managing its aging inmate population. After reviewing the report and recommendations, the BOP created formed an interdisciplinary task force to address a number of the recommendations.
The Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in Indian Country recognizes extraordinary efforts by department employees who demonstrate the department’s commitment to fighting crime in Indian Country. This year’s award is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney J. Michael Sheckels; from the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, Trial Attorney Richard A. Friedman; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Oklahoma, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Snow; from the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent John W. Fitzer and Special Agent Joshua W. Martin; from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent John Jones; and from the Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police, Chief Kent Dowell
On March 3, 2004, David Magnan entered a house on an Indian allotment in rural Seminole County, Oklahoma, and with premeditation shot three Native American occupants to death as they lay in their beds. Originally convicted in state court under the misapprehension of the status of the land where the house was located, that conviction was set aside in 2013 after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Indian title to the land had not been extinguished. Working at great disadvantage given the passage of time, this team worked tirelessly to locate the witnesses and evidence necessary to secure a conviction at trial on all three murder counts, keep a dangerous killer off the streets and obtain justice for the victims’ families.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement recognizes outstanding professional achievements by law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice. Two Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement are presented this year.
The first award recognizes, from the DEA’s Miami Field Office, Group Supervisor Jarod A. Forget, Special Agents John P. Garcia, Amber M. McKeone and Robert J. Roth and Intelligence Analyst Christine M. Galluccio; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marton Gyires; from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Detective Karin Alvarez; from the city of North Miami Beach Police Department, Sergeant William Beauparlant; from the Davie Police Department, Detective Lisa V. Choquette; from the Coconut Creek Police Department, Detective Angela L. Hofer; from the city of Coral Springs Police Department, Detective Chad L. Kuschel; and from the Miami-Dade Police Department, Detective Robert D. Love.
Operation Driving Dirty dismantled the Consolidated Priority Organization Target linked to transnational drug trafficking organizations, to include the Los Urabeños, at an unprecedented rate. The recipients worked extensively with foreign DEA offices and host country counterparts in China, Hong Kong, Guatemala, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Panama, Canada and the Netherlands. The international partnerships were unparalleled as Operation Driving Dirty led to significant worldwide seizures, arrests and prosecutions. As a result of leads provided to the DEA Caracas Country Office, Venezuelan counterparts seized $7 million, deemed one of the largest currency seizures in that country’s history. Additionally, while working with its partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the team conducted a substantial financial investigation into the drug trafficking organization’s money laundering operations, which led to the civil forfeiture of numerous bank accounts. This cooperative effort with the U.S. Attorney’s Office led to the arrest and prosecution of over 50 high-level defendants to include the regional priority organization target, Ronen Nahmani, who was identified as one of the largest synthetic marijuana distributors in the United States. To this end, Operation Driving Dirty led to seizures totaling 6,349 kilograms of cocaine, 28 kilograms of heroin, 15 pounds of methamphetamine, 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana and precursor chemicals, 21 weapons and $30 million.
The second award recognizes, from the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, Supervisory Special Agent Scott J. Hopper; from the FBI’s Newark Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent Drew T. Wasson; Special Agents Kate Fila-Stillings, Tara Jerussi and Chetwyn M. Jones, Supervisory Foreign Language Program Coordinator Joseph Brunetto, Computer Scientist Field Operations Alberto Carranza and Forensic Accountant Paul Robert Miccarelli; from the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, Special Agent Robert W. Keller; from the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, Special Agent Myles C. McLaughlin; from the FBI’s New York City Field Office, Special Agent Thomas Parisi; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis C. Carletta and Peter W. Gaeta; and from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Special Agent Robert Dugan.
In December 2011, FBI opened a five-year investigation into ABN Universal Inc. Early investigative techniques revealed the U.S.-based owner and operator of ABN was Alexander Brazhnikov. Through an exhaustive use of human sources, video surveillance, forensic reconstruction, grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, Title III surveillance of emails and computer analysis, the investigation revealed that ABN was procuring dual-use microelectronics from U.S.-based manufacturers on behalf of Russian companies directly associated with the Russian military and intelligence services. Moreover, employees of ABN were devaluing the price of exported products to Russia and using front company addresses in Moscow, an offshore virtual private network and an international network of shell companies to conceal the intended end-users from U.S. law enforcement. The investigative team worked diligently to overcome each of these obfuscation techniques to ultimately reveal the totality of Brazhnikov’s criminal offenses. As a result of the investigation, in June 2014, an arrest warrant for Brazhnikov was issued for his illegal smuggling of export controlled U.S.-sourced goods to Russia and for conducting $65 million in money laundering. In June 2015, Brazhnikov pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods from the U.S., conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Brazhnikov also admitted to smuggling microelectronics to Russian defense contractors known to supply the Russian military and intelligence services, to include two Russian nuclear warhead design institutes. As a result of his guilty plea, the District Court of New Jersey issued a money judgment against Brazhnikov for $65 million.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Management recognizes outstanding administrative or managerial achievements which have significantly improved operations or productivity, or reduced costs. Two Excellence in Management Awards are presented this year.
The first Excellence in Management Award recognizes, from the Civil Division’s Torts Branch-Constitutional and Specialized Tort Litigation Section, Supervisory Legal Administrative Specialist Sherlita R. Tyson, who is honored for her superb management of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Program’s team of 16 claims examiners and contractors. RECA was enacted by Congress in 1990 to provide a non-adversarial alternative to litigation to compensate individuals who faced increased risk of disease as a result of the United States’ national security interests in the Cold War-era nuclear testing program and uranium ore processing operations. In her position, Ms. Tyson hires, trains and develops program staff, providing them with the structure, guidance and direction necessary for their contributions to the complex RECA claims process. Through daily, hands-on management, as well as close coordination with RECA leadership, Ms. Tyson significantly contributed to the program’s banner success in 2015, with over 2,000 claims adjudicated and $100 million paid to eligible claimants. Fiscal year 2015 also saw two critical achievements attributed to Ms. Tyson’s management skills. In March, RECA surpassed $2 billion in compassionate payments, a testament to the success and integrity of the innovative, streamlined payment system she developed. Ms. Tyson also led a two-year project to close out previously adjudicated claims, and within 13 months, her team cleared out an 11,000-claim backlog. Ms. Tyson’s extraordinary contributions and her ability to motivate and focus her staff demonstrate her pursuit of excellence in managing the RECA program.
The second Excellence in Management Award recognizes, from the Justice Management Division, Library Staff Director Dennis G. Feldt. Feldt is recognized for his sustained innovative leadership of the Library Staff, through which he has modernized the nation’s law library to ensure a cost-effective, customer service-oriented operation that meets the myriad needs of the department’s more than 114,000 employees nationwide. Feldt’s skillful leadership ensures that department employees, including attorneys and law enforcement personnel, can meet the mission of the department on a daily basis. Feldt has proven himself a creative and adaptable leader who has achieved exceptional program results through his modernization efforts by expanding research capabilities through digitization, enhancing training opportunities and enabling mobile and remote access across the country. Through outreach to the department’s components, he has realized cost savings of almost $2 million through subscription consolidation and online resource utilization. Feldt successfully raises awareness of the library services and resources by increasing the innovative training programs for department attorneys and other employees. Because of his forward thinking, his staff successfully taught 72 onsite training classes, conducted 127 legal database and online research demonstrations, conducted 11 remote legal research training sessions and provided 41 one-on-one customized training sessions throughout the year benefitting more than 2,000 department attorneys and paralegals. During this same timeframe and under his leadership, his staff successfully responded to over 50,000 general and legal reference, project-based and research requests, ensuring that department customers continued to benefit from “one-stop” comprehensive electronic and mobile legal research tools. Feldt directs and provides valuable and unique research services to include expert witness, corporate and people and public records research. He is held in high regard as a leader, supervisor and service provider to the department, and he remains vigilant of opportunities to innovate and to enhance the department’s research and training capabilities.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Information Technology recognizes outstanding achievements in applying information technology to improve operations and productivity, reduce or avoid costs, and solve problems. This year’s award is presented to, from the Justice Management Division’s Cybersecurity Services Staff, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Information Officer Joseph F. Klimavicz, Deputy Chief Information Officer Kevin T. Deeley, Chief Information Security Officer Melinda Rogers, Assistant Directors Brian M. Depasse, Ryan A. Higgins and Nickolous B. Ward, Supervisory IT Specialist Kevin S. Cox, IT Specialists Nickole M. Arbuckle, Peter W. Crichlow, David C. Denis, Jeremy B. Greenland, John Miles, Scott K. Morrison, Josephine A. Peters, Larry T. Tun, Brian R. Varine and Kevin H. Yasuda.
Over the last year, the department’s cybersecurity team has made significant enhancements to address the rapidly-changing cyber threat landscape, as the department’s mission makes it a high-value target for adversaries attacking U.S. national security assets. This team implemented and continues to manage solutions which thwart adversaries’ attempts to breach the department’s network, gain access to sensitive information and critically harm national security. These solutions provide the department with the ability to detect and mitigate advanced persistent threats, monitor malicious encrypted internet traffic, prevent data loss by encrypting personally identifiable information. This fiscal year, the team’s enhancements stopped 55,000 malicious e-mails and 900 malicious web sessions. Also as a result, fewer cyber incidents occur, fewer remediation efforts are required and the department realized $8 million in cost avoidance. In addition, the team developed robust internal applications, Security Posture Dashboard Reporting and the Cyber Security Assessment and Management system to continuously monitor and analyze department-wide cybersecurity posture and Federal Information Security Management Act compliance. These applications allow for the transparent measurement, comparison and analysis of each component’s security environment. Without the efforts of this team, the department could see a large-scale cybersecurity incident, resulting in incalculable damage to the department’s personnel, information and mission.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in protecting U.S. national security. Two Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security Awards are presented this year.
The first Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security is presented to members of the U.S. delegation in the unprecedented multi-year negotiation and conclusion of a complex agreement with the European Union (EU) on the protection of the privacy of personal information transferred internationally in law enforcement matters. Additionally, the recipients engaged in an equally unprecedented process of drafting and enactment of legislation that implemented the above-described agreement, which extended key aspects of the Privacy Act to EU citizens.
The award is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and DOJ Counselor for International Affairs Bruce C. Swartz; from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, Acting Deputy Director Kenneth J. Harris, Associate Director Thomas Burrows, Department of Justice Representative to the European Union Michael C. Olmsted and Senior Counsel to the European Union Stewart C. Robinson; from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer Erika Brown Lee; from the Antitrust Division’s Office of the Chief Legal Advisor, Deputy Chief Legal Advisor Belinda A. Barnett; from the Civil Division’s Federal Programs Branch, Deputy Director Elizabeth J. Shapiro; from the DEA’s Office of the General Counsel, Attorney Chad T. Sarchio; from the FBI’s National Security Law Branch, Assistant General Counsel Seth M. Oppenheim; from the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, General Attorney Monica E. Ryan; and from the National Security Division’s Office of Law and Policy, Attorney-Advisor Jocelyn A. Aqua.
The second Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael R. Gill and James P. Gillis and Paralegal Specialist Tonya L. Dandridge; from the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent Ronald P. Comers; from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Special Agents Marlo D. Arredondo, Michael A. Burgwald and Eric E. Glassie; from the FBI’s Legal Attaché in London, Supervisory Special Agent John David Kuchta; from the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, General Attorney Lubaina B. Qaiyumi; from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, Trial Attorney Jennifer E. Levy and Legal Administrative Specialist Katarina A. Porter; from from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Special Agent Alan M. Ferrell; and from the DoD Office of the General Counsel, Counsel Brent C. Harvey.
US v. Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin was a first-of-its-kind, Article III prosecution of a foreign terrorist who was captured in November 2009 by the U.S. military on a battlefield in Afghanistan. The investigation and prosecution lasted five years from capture to conviction, and the case required a massive interagency team of attorneys, law enforcement agents and support staff to work together, effectively navigating complex and unique challenges in a sensitive national security matter. Hamidullin was convicted by a federal jury of all 15 indicted counts, which included charges of providing material support to terrorists, attempted murder of U.S. military personnel, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence. In December 2015, Hamidullin was sentenced to serve life plus 30 years in prison.
The Attorney General’s Award for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the department’s highest award for performance in support of the EEO program. This year’s award is presented to the Diversity and Inclusion Dialogue Program (DIDP) project team for the outstanding leadership of its members in growing and sustaining this unique diversity initiative in the department. The DIDP provides a safe, open, structured and confidential environment for employees to openly and honestly explore a full spectrum of diversity and inclusion topics and ways in which these aspects of diversity affect our ability to work more effectively together and foster a more inclusive work environment. Using facilitated dialogue on a range of topics over a six-month period, expertly led by trained members of the project team, employees learned skills to address, rather than avoid, difficult diversity topics. They also developed depth in their relational and teamwork skills, while extending their network in the department. Following a successful pilot year, the DIDP project team undertook the challenge of building the program. With strong support from their component leadership and diversity groups, the project team recruited participants within and across components; used their EEO and diversity expertise to tailor the DIDP materials to the department’s needs; and continued to build the facilitator cadre using in-house resources. Evaluations by program participants uniformly contained high praise for the program structure and leadership. The DIDP is an effective vehicle to develop the respect, understanding and open communication of the department’s employees, and the DIDP project team is a model of the multi-component cooperation that is essential for the sustainable implementation of such a vital and critical program.
The recipients include, from the Office of the Associate Attorney General, Deputy Associate Attorney General for Diversity Management Richard L. Parker; from the Antitrust Division, Litigation II Section Section Chief Maribeth Petrizzi, Foreign Commerce Section Trial Attorney Melanie Krebs-Pilotti and Transportation, Energy and Agriculture Section Trial Attorney Jade A. Eaton; from the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Office of Conflict Resolution, EEO and Diversity, Supervisory Attorney-Advisor Carolyn Vines Sapla; from the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams and Senior Counsel for Indian Affairs Gina L. Allery; from the Office of the General Counsel, Supervisory Attorney Rico M. Sogocio; from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Diversity Coordinator Kimberly R. Wilkins; from the Tax Division’s Civil Trial Section, Southern, Trial Attorney Steven C. Woodliff; from the Tax Division’s Civil Trial Section, Eastern, Supervisory Trial Attorney Robert D. Metcalfe; from the Tax Division’s Civil Trial Section, Western, Supervisory Litigation Assistant Daffney T. Archer; from the Tax Division’s Office of Management and Administration, Program Analyst Elizabeth D. Preston; and from the Tax Division’s Office of Review, Section Chief Ann C. Reid.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Legal Support recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of legal support to attorneys by paralegal specialists and other legal assistants.
In the Paralegal Category, the first Award for Excellence in Legal Support is presented to Paralegal Laura E. Griffin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. Griffin has been an indispensable member of the Southern District of Ohio’s Appellate Division for more than seven years. She plays a vital role in implementing a system of formal moot courts for every oral argument conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys and is in the development of a training program for support staff on appellate rules and procedures. Griffin also assisted in the creation and development of an extensive intranet site for the Appellate Division which was praised by Evaluation and Review Staff evaluators as a model for U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country. Her hard work, enthusiasm and innovation have served to guide the Appellate Division from its infancy into one of the most respected Appellate Divisions in the country, universally praised by evaluators, the judges of the Sixth Circuit and her peers. Griffin’s work exemplifies the kind of excellence, dedication and professionalism worthy of recognition.
Also in the Paralegal Category, the second Award for Excellence in Legal Support is presented to Paralegal Specialists Glori J. Gibford of the Office of the U.S. Trustee – Region 18, C. Marie Goodier of the Office of the U.S. Trustee – Region Six, Catherine J. Henderson of the Office of the U.S. Trustee – Region 10 and Erik Van Bramer of the Office of the U.S. Trustee – Region Nine. This team’s outstanding work and exemplary commitment to the U.S. Trustee Program’s (USTP) National Creditor Enforcement Initiative were critical in the USTP’s $81.6 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A., announced in November 2015. Under the settlement, Wells Fargo acknowledged that it failed to timely file more than 100,000 payment change notices and failed to timely perform more than 18,000 escrow analyses in cases involving approximately 68,000 accounts of homeowners in bankruptcy between Dec. 1, 2011, and March 31, 2015. While continuing to carry out their core civil enforcement work in their local offices, the recipients assumed these significant additional responsibilities with great enthusiasm and demonstrated a strong sense of dedication, expertise and zeal that has helped so many distressed homeowners.
In the Legal Support Category, this year’s Award for Excellence in Legal Support is presented to Legal Secretary Linda C. Britt of the Civil Division’s Appellate Staff. Ms. Britt’s work has uniformly been of the highest caliber in her more than 30 years with Civil Division’s Appellate Staff. Day after day, she masterfully assists the attorneys with their briefs and memoranda, often under extraordinary time pressure, helping to yield end products that are thoroughly professional. In all of her work, Ms. Britt invariably goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure success of the office’s mission, which has been especially crucial in recent periods of a short-handed administrative staff. She has seamlessly taken on the added responsibilities of being the administrative assistant to the director of the Appellate Staff, and always seeks out new ways to be of assistance to others in the office. Going beyond the excellent work that she performs on a daily basis, Ms. Britt has the unique quality of inspiring others to emulate her hard-working attitude and uplifting presence.
The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Administrative Support recognizes outstanding performance in administrative or managerial support by an administrative employee or secretary.
In the Administrative Category, this year’s Award for Excellence in Administrative Support is presented to Administrative Services Specialist Antonio M. Griego of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. Griego constantly reads, researches, interprets and enforces the changing rules and regulations, delegated authorities and guidelines that apply to all aspects of acquisition management and internal controls. Acquisition and procurement personnel at the EOUSA and the Justice Management Division regularly consult with Griego for his technical interpretation, knowledge and application skills, and regularly select him as a primary instructor for acquisition and procurement conferences and training seminars. In addition to his voluntary participation in the Contracting Officer Mentor Program, Griego regularly assists contracting officers and contract staff from numerous other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. Griego’s dedication and initiative have enhanced the contracting capacities of the District of New Mexico, EOUSA and the department as a whole, and exemplify government at its best.
In the Secretarial Category, this year’s Award for Excellence in Administrative Support is presented to Management and Program Assistant Sandra L. Blanchard of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Blanchard frequently demonstrates an analytical ability above that of her required job functions. As a special project, she led the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) batch query testing efforts on behalf of the division. In this role, Blanchard was responsible for reviewing hundreds of results and using her professional judgment to make decisions. Moreover, she determined what information added value to the Facial Analysis Comparison and Evaluation Services Unit operations. At the end of the testing period, she provided recommendations for using this type of query in the normal course of business that considered future N-DEx builds that would likely yield more results. Furthermore, her recommendations were communicated with the N-DEx program, resulting in a clearer understanding of the unit’s requirements. Throughout this project, Blanchard exhibited substantial knowledge of program principles, concepts and objectives. Additionally, she identified and took the initiative to implement an efficient method to produce complete and accurate case identification number lists that corresponded to the FBI’s Top 10 Priority List, and she ensured the document was available a resource to others. Blanchard also coordinated with IT support personnel to ensure the information was regularly updated on the work log. This increased the overall effectiveness of operations and allowed for more accurate reporting and case prioritization.
The Claudia J. Flynn Award for Professional Responsibility recognizes a department attorney who has made significant contributions in the area of professional responsibility by successfully handling a sensitive and challenging professional responsibility issue in an exemplary fashion and/or leading efforts to ensure that department attorneys carry out their duties in accordance with the rules of professional conduct. This year’s award is presented to, from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Associate Deputy Attorney General Andrew D. Goldsmith and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney John M. Fietkiewicz. Goldsmith and Fietkiewicz are recognized for their sustained, outstanding leadership and invaluable contributions to ensure that department prosecutors carry out their duties in compliance with the highest ethical standards. With superior dedication and effort, they have gone to extraordinary lengths to advise and train innumerable department prosecutors, providing the tools and resources necessary to perform their work in the most ethical and professional way possible. With their considerable experience and exceptional judgment, they are leading the department in successfully addressing the overlap between the legal and ethical duty of disclosure, one of the most important professional responsibility issues facing federal prosecutors in decades. Their unfailing commitment to upholding and inspiring others to the highest standards of professionalism has been a model to their peers within and outside the department. Both awardees worked closely with Claudia Flynn during her service at the department, and they embody the integrity, professionalism and strength of character that marked Flynn’s life and work.
The Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Service in Freedom of Information Act Administration recognizes exceptional dedication and effort to the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). President Obama’s Open Government Directive and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines prioritize the need for the government to incorporate information technology into FOIA processing when responding to requests for information. This year’s award is presented to Government Information Specialist Margaret A. Woods of the USMS Office of General Counsel. In her position, Woods is often assigned the more complex and voluminous FOIA requests while still serving as a reviewer and mentor for less senior specialists. She typically processes more than 150 requests over the course of the year. Recently, Woods was assigned a very high-profile and large-scale FOIA media request seeking information regarding use of government funds for commemorative and recognition items within both USMS headquarters and each of its 94 districts. Because of the breadth of the possible records and the effort required to capture all responsive information, Woods spent hundreds of hours in conversation with USMS district and division personnel conducting the searches and explaining the type of information to be included in responses. In addition, the request required coordination and consultation with other department components. Following her review of over 15,000 pages of documents, Woods created a custom spreadsheet in order to display the responsive information in a form which the requester could clearly understand. Additionally, she oversaw the process of compiling the information and ensuring its accuracy, and she coordinated the response package with the department’s Office of Information Policy, which monitored and coordinated the request. Finally, Woods prepared the material for disclosure to the requester with an explanation of any possible discrepancies.
The Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention recognizes exceptional dedication and effort to prevent, investigate and prosecute fraud, white-collar crimes and official corruption. This year’s award is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Deputy Chief Gejaa T. Gobena and Assistant Chief Catherine Kuo Dick; from the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch – Fraud Section, Trial Attorney Joan E. Hartman; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Aouate, Sarah Resnick Cohen, John K. Neal and Wayne F. Pratt and Victim-Witness Coordinator Sandy Palazzolo; from the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, Special Agents Bryan Drake, William Brian Fairweather and Kevin J. Swanson and Forensic Accountant LaFell D. Peoples; from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Special Agents Abhijit Dixit and Michael Fairbanks; and from the U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service, Special Agent Kevin Nalu.
This team secured the conviction and 45-year sentence of Farid Fata, an oncologist who deliberately misdiagnosed patients with a variety of conditions so that he could fraudulently bill Medicare and private insurers for millions of dollars’ worth of unnecessary infusions, injections and other cancer testing and treatments. Acting on a tip, the recipients investigated and corroborated the health care fraud allegations, arresting Fata and shutting down his six Detroit-area practice locations. At the time of his arrest, Fata had over 1,700 active patients and over 16,000 historical patients. After his arrest, agents, prosecutors and staff worked around the clock to ensure that all of the patients, past and present, received their medical files and were routed to major medical centers for continued care. Over the course of the investigation, the team was able to prove that Fata had victimized more than 550 patients. In September 2014, Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud charges, one count of health care kickback conspiracy and money laundering. In pleading guilty, Fata admitted to administering unnecessary chemotherapy infusions, iron infusions and human growth factors to patients; ordering unnecessary cancer tests; accepting kickbacks to refer patients for home health care services; and laundering money from his infusion fraud scheme to promote a new cancer testing fraud scheme.
The Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships for Public Safety recognizes outstanding achievement in the development and support of community partnerships designed to address public safety within a community. This year’s award is presented to, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Ohio, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Pinjuh, Law Enforcement Coordinator Craig A. Tame and Community Affairs Specialist Michael P. Tobin; from the DEA’s Cleveland Resident Office, Resident Agent in Charge Keith W. Martin; from the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office, Supervisory Special Agent Todd D. DeKatch; from the Cleveland Clinic, Addiction Psychiatrist Jason M. Jerry MD; from the MetroHealth Medical Center, Emergency Room Physician Joan Papp MD; from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, Medical Examiner Thomas P. Gilson MD and Administrator Hugh B. Shannon; from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Supervisor Vincent P. Caraffi; from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Judges David T. Matia and Joan C. Synenberg; from the Cleveland Division of Police, Commander Gary K. Gingell; from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Special Assistant Philip M. Angelo; and from the Recovery Resources Associate Board, Board Chair Aaron D. Marks.
The recipients are recognized for their involvement in the Northern Ohio Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which has developed and implemented a community action plan to combat a healthcare and law enforcement crisis. Heroin overdose deaths increased in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest county, by more than 400 percent between 2007 and 2015, with nearly 200 people fatally overdosing last year. Convened by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the task force, comprised of prosecutors, doctors, investigators, educators, addiction specialists and community members, engaged in a groundbreaking collaboration that cuts through traditional boundaries. By dealing with the heroin and opioid epidemic simultaneously through the prisms of law enforcement, treatment, healthcare policy and education, this group is challenging the idea that each discipline must work in its own silo. Their Smart on Crime approach is literally saving lives throughout the community.
The Cubby Dorsey Award for Outstanding Contributions by a Wage Grade System Employee recognizes extraordinary performance and contributions by wage grade system employees, including laborers, mechanics and skilled craft workers. This year’s award is presented to Benjamin Scott Taylor, a Pipefitter Supervisor from BOP’s Federal Correctional Institution – Manchester, Kentucky (FCI Manchester). Taylor is recognized for his dedication to improving the utility systems and equipment at FCI Manchester. He was the lead foreman in the retrofitting of an “on demand” water heating system for the institution's centralized laundry operation. Due to an antiquated steam system which could not supply the required heating water, Taylor researched and received approval to install a state-of-the-art heating system. All phases of the project were planned, organized and installed under his supervision. Additionally, his commitment to reducing leaks in the institution resulted in an astonishing 12.9 percent reduction in potable water in 2015, and a water usage cost savings of over $30,300. Finally, Taylor displays a genuine commitment to reentry by participating in professional development and leadership programs for inmates. He provides expert trade-skill enhancement to the inmates under his supervision, and instills professional growth and work patterns that will better prepare the FCI Manchester inmates to return to their communities and the work force.
The John Marshall Awards are the department’s highest awards offered to attorneys for contributions and excellence in specialized areas of legal performance. Ten awards in seven categories are presented this year.
The first John Marshall Award for Trial of Litigation is presented to, from the Antitrust Division’s Litigation III Section, Assistant Section Chiefs Ethan C. Glass and Lisa A. Scanlon; and Trial Attorneys Steven B. Kramer, Kelsey W. Shannon and Jeffrey G. Vernon. The Antitrust Division’s high-profile victory at trial blocking General Electric’s (GE) attempt to sell its appliances business to Electrolux represents one of the most significant merger trial victories the division has achieved in decades, and has directly helped tens of millions of U.S. consumers who purchase appliances each year. On July 1, 2015, the United States brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against GE and Electrolux, alleging that their proposed merger would raise appliance prices. In November 2015, trial began in before U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia. During a five-week, highly publicized trial, the trial team made its case largely through the documents and adverse testimony of GE and Electrolux, uncooperative competitors and economic analysis, demonstrating that the merger would have a significant effect on the prices of ranges, cooktops and wall ovens. One day before trial was to conclude, GE abandoned the proposed merger and as a result, U.S. consumers will be able to save hundreds of millions of dollars.
The second John Marshall Award for Trial of Litigation is presented to the team responsible for the prosecution and conviction of Jeffrey Sterling. As a result of their tireless efforts over the course of several years, Sterling was found guilty of unauthorized disclosures of classified information vital to national security in the first Espionage Act trial of its kind in decades. The successful outcome was the result of over four years of complex pre-trial litigation involving classified information, covert witnesses, First Amendment issues and media subpoenas. At trial, the prosecutors proved that Sterling, a former CIA officer, disclosed to a journalist the details of an extremely sensitive, valuable and classified clandestine operation designed to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Sterling’s crime not only undermined a valuable tool to attack Iran’s nuclear program, but also endangered the lives of an important human asset and his family. The defendant’s unlawful disclosures put lives at risk and constituted an egregious breach of the public trust. Sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison. This case demonstrates the perseverance, tenacity and commitment of the prosecution team in overcoming formidable challenges in bringing this uniquely complex case to trial in the interests of justice and national security. Award recipients include, from the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, Deputy Chief Eric G. Olshan; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis M. Fitzpatrick and Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump.
The first John Marshall Award for Participation in Litigation is presented to, from the Civil Rights Division, Office of the Assistant Attorney General Senior Counsel Regina Kline, Acting Chief of the Policy and Strategy Section Sheila M. Foran, Disability Rights Section Trial Attorneys Nicholas C. Lee and H. Justin Park and Housing and Civil Enforcement Section Trial Attorney Max P. Lapertosa; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Oregon, Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian L. Brown. This team is honored for its extraordinary work in securing – alongside private plaintiffs – the landmark settlement agreement remedying systemic discrimination in Oregon’s employment service system for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Through the team’s outstanding oral and written advocacy, a groundbreaking settlement was achieved in Lane v. Brown, the nation’s first class-action lawsuit to challenge a state funded and administered employment service system, relying primarily on sheltered workshops, as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) integration mandate. Throughout the more than three-year litigation, the team demonstrated exemplary dedication, as well as outstanding advocacy and strategy, that successfully positioned the department and private plaintiffs to obtain a comprehensive settlement agreement providing relief to approximately 7,000 people with I/DD. These individuals include 1,115 adults with I/DD, who have been relegated for far too long in segregated sheltered workshops when they were able and wanted to work in real jobs in the community, and roughly 4,900 youth with I/DD who will now receive employment services to choose, prepare for, get and keep jobs in a typical setting. The team’s accomplishment serves as a model for integrated employment of persons with disabilities nationwide.
The second John Marshall Award for Participation in Litigation recognizes Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara K. Eshkenazi and Jeffrey K. Powell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. As a result of the extraordinary work of the recipients, New York City’s jail system is now subject to sweeping court-ordered reforms to counter the pervasive culture of violence that has plagued it for decades and has inflicted tremendous harm on inmates and correction officers alike. After its rigorous investigation into the treatment of adolescent inmates on Rikers Island, the team drafted a scathing 79-page report that concluded that male inmates between the ages of 16 and 18 were subject to rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by correction staff, were not being adequately protected from violence inflicted by other inmates, and were being placed in punitive segregation for weeks or months at a time at an alarming rate. To force desperately needed reforms, the Southern District of New York intervened in an ongoing class action alleging a system-wide pattern and practice of excessive force. The recipients led the parties through many months of difficult negotiations which resulted in a groundbreaking consent decree requiring comprehensive and innovative reform designed to end the unconstitutional violence on Rikers Island. The consent decree also prohibits the use of punitive segregation for inmates under the age of 18. In approving the settlement, the district court judge described the agreement as “the product of unprecedented analysis, investigation, collaboration, commitment to the protection of rights and vision for systemic reform,” and noted that it “provides an important example for other correctional systems throughout the country.”
The first John Marshall Award for Support of Litigation is presented to Assistant Director Reginald T. Blades Jr. and Assistant Director L. Misha Preheim of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch – National Courts Section for their outstanding and successful resolution of over 3,000 claims for back pay for certain cost of living adjustments withheld by Congress brought by Article III and non-Article III judges and their beneficiaries. The creative and innovative web-based claims process developed and implemented by the recipients has contributed greatly to the department’s fair, just and efficient resolution of complex and unwieldy putative class action claims brought against the United States in 15 different lawsuits filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
The second John Marshall Award for Support of Litigation recognizes the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Pacific Salmon Team for its tireless and outstanding provision of litigation support in multiple cases involving salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Salmon are iconic to the Pacific Northwest and litigation over this important natural resource abounds. The recipients are responsible for representing several federal agencies in many pieces of complex litigation in federal district courts throughout the region. In this role, the team provides all aspects of legal assistance including counsel to eight federal agencies; legal review of agency actions in advance of litigation; marshalling expert witness resources and testimony; researching and drafting extensive legal briefs; coordinating positions among the various federal agencies; and representing the agencies in the courtroom. The cases are complex, controversial and often high-profile. Due to its work, the team has secured litigation outcomes allowing critical hydroelectric and navigation projects to move forward while protecting the needs of salmon. Their efforts have also resulted in significant improvement of federal and tribal relations. The awardees are, from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, Senior Trial Attorneys Michael R. Eitel and Carter H. Howell and Trial Attorney Andrea E. Gelatt; and from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Natural Resources Section, Senior Trial Attorneys Romney S. Philpott III and Kristofor R. Swanson.
The John Marshall Award for Handling of Appeals is presented to Trial Attorney Arthur T. Catterall of the Tax Division’s Appellate Section. Catterall is recognized for his exceptional work as an appellate advocate in tackling some of the most difficult civil tax cases to come before the Courts of Appeals in recent years, including tax shelter cases combining complex factual patterns with thorny issues of statutory interpretation. His collaborative work with trial and agency counsel, and his clear and eloquent arguments on behalf of the federal government, have exposed the fallacies at the heart of various abusive tax shelters and have contributed to the government’s victory in the SCOTUS case US v. Gary Woods, allowing for the imposition of accuracy-related penalties in transactions lacking economic substance. His work has saved and will continue to save the government hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, and has contributed to the development of the law in a manner that enhances the integrity and fairness of the federal tax system.
The John Marshall Award for Providing Legal Advice is presented to the team responsible for in reviewing executive orders and attorney general orders for form and legality. Together, the recipients ensure that the orders are lawful and presented in proper form. They perform this daunting and critical task with supreme skill, integrity and care, and frequently on an extremely short timeline. Moreover, the team’s behind-the-scenes work is critical to the integrity and success of every order the President of the United States or Attorney General signs. The recipients are, from the Office of Legal Counsel, Special Counsel Rosemary A. Hart, Senior Counsel Matthew D. Roberts and Attorney-Advisers Martine E. Cicconi, Kirti Datla, Nathan A. Forrester, Laura E. Heim, KelleyBrooke Hostetler, Jane E. Nitze, Annie L. Owens, Mitchell Reich and Jonathan D. Shaub.
This year’s John Marshall Award for Asset Forfeiture is presented to, from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Deputy Chief Woo S. Lee and Trial Attorney Della Sentilles; from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, Trial Attorneys Frances Chang and Michael J. Surgalla Jr.; from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph F. Minni and J. Alvin Stout III; and from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katharine Schonbachler and Steven R. Welk.
This team is honored for its contributions to the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative through its civil forfeiture of bribe proceeds paid to the former President of the Republic of Korea, Chun Doo Hwan. After seizing power in 1979, Chun went on to earn a salary of approximately $20,000 per year from 1980 through 1988. When he was ultimately convicted of corruption crimes by South Korea in 1997, the trial court established that Chun had received more than $200 million in bribes during his presidency and ordered him to pay restitution in that amount. Stymied in their efforts to collect on Chun’s restitution order, in 2013, Korean prosecutors turned to the department for assistance. Undaunted by the age of the evidence, the team pieced together financial and testimonial evidence sufficient to show that a portion of Chun’s bribe proceeds were paid through intermediaries, transferred out of Korea in the names of shell corporations and ultimately invested into various properties in the United States. On Nov. 9, 2015, Attorney General Lynch celebrated the successful conclusion of this case by presenting the Korean Minister of Justice with an embossed copy of a forfeiture order and congratulating South Korea on having recovered more than $28.7 million as a result of the team’s efforts.
This year’s John Marshall Award for Alternative Dispute Resolution is presented to the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Team for the negotiation, defense and implementation of a settlement between the state of Montana, the Crow Nation and the United States that confirms the federal water rights of the Crow Nation arising from its 1868 treaty. The settlement, a decades-long effort, brings much-needed water, infrastructure and economic development to the Crow Reservation in Montana and allows the tribe to thrive on its reservation. The awardees are recognized for their creative and exemplary work in developing, negotiating and implementing a settlement approved by the Montana Legislature and subsequently ratified and altered by Congress. The team then defended the settlement in state and federal courts. Their work began with the negotiation of an agreement in the late 1990s, resolving contentious water rights issues as well as mineral severance taxation issues heard by SCOTUS. The team’s successful completion of this extraordinary process makes clean drinking water, improved irrigation facilities and economic development opportunities available on the Crow Indian Reservation and confirms promises made to the Crow Nation in 1868.
The awardees are, from the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Indian Resources Section, Section Chief S. Craig Alexander, Assistant Section Chief David W. Harder and Trial Attorney J. Nathanael Watson; from the division’s Law and Policy Section, Attorney-Advisor Stacy R. Stoller; from the division’s Natural Resources Section, Trial Attorney Tyler G. Bair; and from the division’s Appellate Section Trial Attorney John L. Smeltzer.
The Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee recognizes exceptional performance and notable accomplishments towards the department’s mission by an employee with fewer than five years of federal career service.
The first Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee Award is presented to Criminal Division Appellate Section Attorney Ross B. Goldman. Goldman has proven himself to be an extraordinary and productive appellate advocate, who masterfully handles complex, large-record appeals. Although his cases have run the gamut from street crime to securities fraud, Goldman has brought his sophisticated analysis to two areas that bedevil the courts and prosecutors; insider trading, where he drafted a SCOTUS merits brief and a certiorari petition, and extraterritoriality, where, in one case, he defended the murder conviction of a Colombian national who murdered a DEA agent in Bogota and, in a second case, assisted the Solicitor General in formulating arguments on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act’s extraterritorial reach. He not only volunteers to take on extra work within the division, but he also seized the opportunity to review commutation applications filed by convicted drug traffickers because he believes so strongly in the Obama Administration’s initiative to provide relief to nonviolent offenders who have already served significant prison terms. Finally, Goldman serves on the division’s Diversity Committee and mentors a minority law student. He understands the department’s mission writ large and he gives his best at all times.
The second Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee Award is presented to Special Agent Adebowale Babarinde Alade of the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office. Alade was the lead investigator on a 32-month complex criminal investigation targeting the Almighty Latin King Nation (ALKN), a violent transnational criminal enterprise operating in Texas with connections across the United States and overseas. With less than one year in the FBI, and still serving as a probationary agent, Alade demonstrated exceptional initiative by carefully exploiting human source information in early 2013, resulting in the identification of a key leader of the ALKN with control over operations in Texas. He determined that the ALKN was importing and distributing large quantities of narcotics from Mexico-based cartels, and was also involved in weapons trafficking with access to military-grade weapons and grenades. After obtaining Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces designation, Alade relentlessly pursued ALKN’s illicit activities, ultimately targeting its command and control structure through the use of sophisticated techniques involving the interception of communications through Title III court orders. During 2014, Alade exploited intelligence derived from ALKN communications and human sources, and developed a cohesive interagency team by sharing information with law enforcement partners, resulting in a collaborative effort to target the ALKN. In October 2015, his work resulted in the indictment of 48 members of the ALKN, including its entire leadership structure in Texas, on RICO Act and drug conspiracy charges, as well as state drug violations. Alade subsequently led the multiagency enforcement operation that disrupted the ALKN, resulting in the seizure of narcotics and firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, cash, body armor, extensive digital devices and a wide array of ALKN paraphernalia. In conducting this investigation, Alade directly supported the department’s mission by ensuring public safety against domestic and foreign threats, as well as providing leadership in preventing and controlling crime.