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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Friday, September 12, 2014

Attorney General Recognizes Outstanding Performance Of Five Employees Of The U.S. Attorney's Office In Colorado

WASHINGTON – Five people from the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office were among the 243 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 30th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

The District of Colorado was one of 44 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

In his prepared remarks to awardees, Attorney General Holder said, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer.  Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.” 

EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson echoed those sentiments, saying to the recipients, “You have persevered, and remained focused and motivated – achieving remarkable results in work that makes a difference in the lives of citizens across our great country. The vast scope of your collective accomplishments is nothing short of exceptional.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Judith Smith received an award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who works on criminal prosecutions.  AUSA Smith was recognized for her for her groundbreaking child pornography trial prosecutions and appellate advocacy in United States v. Mueller, United States v. Franklin, and United States v. Sturm. As a result of her extraordinary legal and forensic work in Mueller, over 35 child victims were rescued from sexual abuse. In Franklin, AUSA Smith appears to have been the first federal prosecutor ever to obtain a guilty verdict from a jury on child pornography “advertising” charges for the use of Gigatribe software, resulting in a 100 year sentence. In Sturm, she obtained an en banc opinion from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, establishing a pro-government rule for proof of interstate commerce in child pornography cases. Through her dedication and tireless work, AUSA Smith has obtained convictions and rulings that have saved dozens of children and punished their abusers.

Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Amanda Rocque received an award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who works on civil matters.  AUSA Rocque was recognized for her outstanding work spearheading a highly successful initiative to pursue oil and gas companies that defraud the United States of royalty payments. AUSA Rocque mastered the complexities of how oil and gas companies should calculate royalties due for mineral resources extracted from federal land. She trained agents to detect potential royalty fraud, thereby building a base of investigative expertise. AUSA Rocque’s tenacity and careful attention to detail in these investigations has resulted in a string of multimillion-dollar recoveries for the United States and a vigorous, ongoing fraud-detection program.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Beth Gibson, who is assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) received an award for Superior Performance Award as a SAUSA.  Gibson was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the District of Colorado, including her work on two complex cases. Ms. Gibson tried two complex cases, involving forced labor and a Hobbs Act robbery, to verdict. She also successfully resolved several complex worksite enforcement investigations. Ms. Gibson carries one of the heaviest caseloads in the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, has taken the lead for the office on the Department’s immigration benefit fraud initiative, and has managed the national Special Assistant United States Attorney program for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations participants.

Lisa Lara received an award for Superior Performance in a Litigative Support Role.  Lara was recognized for her outstanding and creative work in developing spreadsheets and databases to track and analyze complex and voluminous medical information in multifaceted health care fraud investigations. In her work as a health care fraud paralegal, Ms. Lara has consistently taken the initiative to create custom electronic mechanisms that make it possible to efficiently track and analyze data, ranging from Medicare policies to patient records. She developed several highly useful templates for tracking data that will streamline future national health care fraud investigations.

Victoria “Tori” Soltis received an award for Superior Performance in Administration.  Soltis was recognized for her outstanding service as an Administrative Specialist. Over the past four years, Ms. Soltis has supported all areas of administration including overseeing the Special Assistant United States Attorney/Special Attorney Program, coordinating the upgrading of the office phone system in three offices, and reviewing numerous floor plans that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for her district.

“The depth of talent at the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office is impressive,” said Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “It was an honor to join these five recipients as they were recognized by the Attorney General and the Department for their outstanding contributions to our mission.  Colorado was well represented when looking at the number of districts recognized nationally.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao.

Updated June 22, 2015