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Front Office

Wesley Hsu, Executive Assistant United States Attorney

Wesley Hsu attended both Yale College and the Yale Law School.  After law school he was a law clerk for the Honorable Mariana R. Pfaelzer and then was a litigation associate in the intellectual property group of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  He joined the Office on August 14, 2000, and became Chief of Cyber in 2008.  While in Cyber, AUSA Hsu handled a number of “first of its kind” convictions, including the first conviction in the nation for hacking an industrial control system, the first conviction by jury for computer hacking in the Central District, and the first conviction in the nation under the CAN-SPAM Act.  Under AUSA Hsu’s leadership, Cyber has led the nation in prosecuting crimes against women involving the Internet, including prosecuting a previously uncharged crime, “sextortion,” and prosecuting the largest computer fraud case in history (100 total defendants).  The Daily Journal named him as one of the “Top 100 lawyers in California” for 2015, and, in 2005 the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association named him one of the “Best Lawyers Under 40.”  AUSA Hsu teaches Cybercrimes at Loyola Law School and has also taught trial advocacy at Loyola Law School and legal writing at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Ranee Katzenstein, Chief of Trials, Integrity and Professionalism

A 20-year veteran of the office, Assistant United States Attorney Ranee Katzenstein served in several units in the Criminal Division before becoming a Deputy Chief of the Major Frauds Section in 2007. AUSA Katzensten has prosecuted narcotics offenses, violent crime cases and the full panoply of financial fraud matters. AUSA Katzenstein has secured convictions against corporate officers and hedge fund managers who used various schemes to defraud investors, a corporate director who engaged in insider trading, bank insiders who took bribes, finance professionals who embezzled millions from their clients and attorneys who assisted in these schemes. During her tenure in the Office, AUSA Katzenstein has been involved in numerous jury trials, including mentoring dozens of young prosecutors in their first trials. She has also worked on nearly 50 appellate matters and has argued over a dozen cases before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Ranee graduated with honors from both Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School, and she clerked for 9th Circuit Judge William A. Norris. Before embarking on her legal career, AUSA Katzenstein obtained a doctorate in Art History from Harvard University, was a curator of illuminated manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and taught medieval art and architecture at UCLA.

Dennise Willett, Chief of Santa Ana Branch Office & Counsel to the U.S. Attorney

Dennise Willett has served in the Justice Department for the last 19 years.  After four years as agency counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, AUSA Willett became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of California.  While in San Diego, AUSA Willett was assigned to the newly-formed Counterterrorism Section and oversaw Operation Game Day, resulting in successful prosecutions of threats to Super Bowl XXXVII.  In 2003, AUSA Willett transferred to the Central District of California, Riverside Branch Office, where she prosecuted various crimes including bank fraud, embezzlement, violent crimes, child exploitation, narcotics trafficking and firearms violations.   In 2005, AUSA Willett received the Anti-Defamation League’s Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate in recognition of successful prosecutions of white supremacist gang leaders in Yucca Valley.  In 2008, AUSA Willett was promoted to Deputy Chief of the National Security Section in Los Angeles.  In that capacity, AUSA Willett successfully prosecuted a purported member of the anti-Castro terrorist group, Alpha 66, for stockpiling explosives, machineguns and over 1,600 firearms behind false walls and bookshelves at his personal residence.  In June 2010, AUSA Willett was promoted to Chief of the Santa Ana Branch Office.  AUSA Willett oversees federal criminal prosecutions in Orange County and manages day-to-day operations in the Branch.  In 2012, AUSA Willett received the Anti-Defamation League’s Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate for prosecuting members of Public Enemy Number One, a white supremacist group in Orange County.  In 2013, AUSA Willett successfully tried, convicted, and denaturalized Jorge Sosa for providing false statements to the United States about his participation in the massacre of villagers in Dos Erres, Guatemala.  In July 2015, AUSA Willett was appointed as Senior Counsel to the United States Attorney.  AUSA Willett serves as Senior Counsel, advising the US Attorney on district-wide issues, in addition to serving as Santa Ana Branch Chief.

Updated March 13, 2017