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General Crimes Section

Section Overview

AUSAs new to the Criminal Division, including those hired for the Riverside and Santa Ana branch offices, are initially assigned to the General Crimes section, where they receive training in the handling of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions. Under close supervision by more senior AUSAs responsible for training, new AUSAs initially are assigned to a wide range of felony cases, handling guilty pleas, suppression motions, jury trials, sentencings, appeals, and probation violations.

The goal of the General Crimes Section is to develop well-trained AUSAs who can handle a wide range of court proceedings, with a focus on developing trial skills. During their tenure in the General Crimes Section, AUSAs also handle pre-indictment work on felony cases, including assisting investigating agents by preparing arrest warrants, search warrants, complaints, and grand jury subpoenas; appearing before Magistrate Judges on initial appearances of arrested defendants, bail hearings; and conducting grand jury proceedings in the cases for which they are responsible. With the assistance of more senior AUSAs, each case that reaches the indictment stage is carefully screened to ensure that there is sufficient evidence and that the case warrants federal prosecution.

Upon completion of their tenure in the General Crimes Section, AUSAs hired for the branch offices are transitioned to those offices, and AUSAs remaining in Los Angeles are assigned to one of the Criminal Division’s senior sections. Assignments to the senior sections are based primarily on the USAO’s staffing needs at the time. The senior sections in the Los Angeles Office are: Asset Forfeiture; Criminal Appeals; Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes; Public Corruption and Civil Rights; Major Frauds; OCDETF; Public Integrity and Environmental Crimes; and Violent and Organized Crime.

Section Leadership

Lizabeth A. Rhodes

Liz Rhodes is the Chief of the General Crimes Section.  AUSA Rhodes received her undergraduate degree from Smith College and graduated from UCLA Law School.  Prior to joining the USAO, AUSA Rhodes worked for over five years as an associate at Morrison and Foerster in the Los Angeles and Orange County Offices.  AUSA Rhodes joined the United States Attorney’s Office in July 1997.  She joined the OCDETF Section after leaving General Crimes.  During her tenure in the office she has had many trials and worked on many cases including: a case involving a Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Agent and his law enforcement co-conspirators who were convicted of stealing 295 kilograms of cocaine from their own evidence vault and selling it for their own personal profit; the East Side Wilmas gang case for which she received the EOUSA Director’s Award; and a parallel prosecution of CVS resulting in penalties and fines exceeding $78 million, the largest penalty of its kind at the time (for which she won the California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) Award).  In 2008 -09, AUSA Rhodes  served the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. on a one year detail as the National Drug Enforcement Coordinator for the Executive Office of United States Attorneys.  In 2010, AUSA Rhodes joined the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section where she worked on the investigation into Civil Rights violations and Corruption within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Recent Cases

February 15, 2017
Press Release
Los Angeles Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges Related to Lottery Scheme that Targeted Elderly Victims

January 23, 2017
Press Release
Owners of West L.A. Pharmacy Found Guilty in Sweeping Scheme to Illegally Distribute Prescription Narcotics

January 4, 2017
Press Release
Inland Empire Man Pleads Guilty in Wire Fraud Scheme Stemming from Use of Fraudulent Checks Made with Info Stolen from U.S. Mail

December 2, 2016
Press Release
Customs Officer Convicted by Federal Jury of Stealing Checks and Money Orders from International Mail Facility in Torrance

November 18, 2016
Press Release
Medical Doctor Convicted of Federal ‘Structuring’ Charges for Making Cash Deposits to Avoid Federal Reporting Requirements

Section Contact Information

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Criminal Division
Attn: General Crimes Section
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Updated February 15, 2017