United States Attorney Martin Estrada Establishes New Executive Position to Oversee Ethics and Post-Conviction Reviews
LOS ANGELES – United States Attorney Martin Estrada, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, today announced the establishment of the Environmental Crimes and Consumer Protection Section, a newly fortified unit that will focus on protecting the health, safety, economic security and dignity of individuals across the Central District of California.
This Office aims to further its goal of bringing impactful consumer protection cases by vigorously prosecuting cases that involve fraudulent and deceptive marketing practices; consumer product safety; food, drug, and dietary supplement safety; and other conduct that may cause or threaten to cause serious harm to the people in this district and throughout the United States.
“Safeguarding the health, safety and economic security of our district’s residents – especially the elderly, children and other vulnerable people – is one of my Office’s paramount goals,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Under this revamped section, we will continue to pursue all appropriate measures to bring to justice any culpable entity – particularly corporations acting illegally – that endangers the welfare of the population we serve.”
“Protecting consumers from harm is a priority for the Department of Justice” stated Amanda Liskamm, Director of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch. “The Consumer Protection Branch has a strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District and we look forward to working with the revamped Environmental Crimes and Consumer Protection Section on significant consumer protection investigations and prosecutions. Our joint efforts will protect the safety of our communities and ensure that those that put consumers at risk will be held accountable.”
The Office’s recent commitment to consumer protection includes a $91 million resolution with Gree USA Inc., a City of Industry-based subsidiary of a Chinese appliance company that was ordered in April 2023 to pay a $500,000 criminal fine after pleading guilty to failing to notify the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that millions of dehumidifiers it sold to domestic consumers were defective and could catch fire.
The Central District of California – the nation’s most populous federal district – is a seven-county area encompassing approximately 20 million residents in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
Assistant United States Attorney Mark A. Williams will lead the Environmental Crimes and Consumer Protection Section as section chief. The section also includes Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda M. Bettinelli – who in October 2022 was appointed the Office’s Environmental Justice Coordinator – Laura A. Alexander, Dan Boyle, Dominique Caamano, Joseph O. Johns, Dennis Mitchell, Matthew W. O’Brien, Juan M. Rodriguez, and Erik M. Silber.
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