Skip to main content
Press Release

United States Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan to Step Down

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

United States Attorney Cole Finegan announced today that he has submitted his resignation to President Joe Biden effective at 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2024.  President Biden appointed Mr. Finegan and he was confirmed by the United States Senate, taking the oath of office on December 1, 2021.

“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado,” said Mr. Finegan. “I am equally thankful to the career attorneys and professional staff who work every day to help keep our citizens safe, to make sure that the rule of law is applied equally, and to protect the civil rights of every citizen. We are fortunate to have these outstanding public servants in our state. Serving the people of Colorado alongside them will always remain one of the most significant experiences of my life.”

As United States Attorney, Finegan was responsible for overseeing the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado. The office represents the United States in virtually every court matter, criminal or civil, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and in cases from that Court before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

During his years in office, U.S. Attorney Finegan focused his efforts, and those of his team, on multiple challenges and opportunities.

Commitment to Partnerships

As a former City Attorney of Denver, Finegan recognized that there could be unique ways to partner with local and state law enforcement to prosecute the most violent criminals in our communities. After meeting with leaders in Denver and Aurora, those cities provided and funded a total of five attorneys who were appointed as federal prosecutors (Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys) to handle violent crimes at the federal level. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also partnered successfully with the District Attorney’s Office in Mesa County and the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to add a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to prosecute drug crimes in Grand Junction.

Under Mr. Finegan’s direction, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado revived the then dormant Protecting Houses of Worship seminars across Colorado. These seminars teach members of faith communities ways to battle against hate crimes and possible acts of terrorism, and work to foster better communication and relationships within local communities and with law enforcement. During USA Finegan’s tenure, hundreds of faith community leaders attended these seminars across Colorado and engaged with local, state, and federal law enforcement leaders. 

Prosecutions of Violent Offenders

U.S. Attorney Finegan and his team partnered to lead multiple prosecutions of those who bring drugs, including the deadly scourge of fentanyl, into our communities along with illegal firearms and ammunition. Among its successes, the office, under Mr. Finegan, secured a life sentence for a notorious drug dealer who distributed fentanyl that killed users in 2023. The office was also successful in prosecutions related to violent crime and guns in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.

Other high profile criminal cases during Finegan’s tenure included the conviction of a dentist who murdered his wife while in Zambia, a guilty plea from a government employee who attempted to sell classified information to a foreign government, and a guilty plea to federal hate crimes by the person who killed five people and injured 19 others at Club Q in Colorado Springs.

Civil Rights, Fraud, and Public Lands

The Civil Section of the office remains notably innovative and successful in protecting civil rights of Coloradans, recovering monies lost due to fraud, and pursuing other misconduct against the United States.

Under Mr. Finegan, the Civil Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office protected civil rights for Coloradans through settlements with multiple law enforcement agencies and other businesses that required them to provide more and higher-quality services to people with various disabilities and who speak different languages.

In 2024, the office resolved a False Claims Act Case with two farmers in southeast Colorado requiring them to pay over $6.5 million back to the United States to resolve claims that they defrauded federal crop insurance programs by tampering with rain gauges. In a parallel criminal case, those farmers were also sentenced to federal prison terms.

On the Western Slope, the office negotiated a creative, groundbreaking settlement between the United States and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad that recovered $20 million for damages incurred in the catastrophic Colorado wildland fire known as the “416 Fire.” The settlement also allowed the historic railroad to keep operating, but also to modernize its equipment and create a compensation fund to guard against future fires.

Economic Crimes, Fraud, and Asset Recovery

Aggressively building upon a task force established to investigate COVID-19 Fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has seized over $1 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans that were stolen and over $25 million in misused Colorado Unemployment Insurance funds.

During Mr. Finegan’s time as U.S. Attorney, the office has also added additional prosecutors to continue recovering COVID-19 relief funds stolen from taxpayers.

Challenges and Opportunities

U.S. Attorney Finegan began his tenure during the COVID-19 pandemic and worked closely with his team to steer the office through the constantly changing environment, while also seeking to rebuild community connections and partnership.

In managing the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Finegan has worked diligently to guide the organization through multiple budget crises, including the substantial reductions by Congress in funding U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide in FY2024. Despite these shifts in funding, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado remains well staffed and well prepared for the future.

Building upon his past experiences at all levels of government, Mr. Finegan served as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. The Committee is a small, select group of U.S. Attorneys who advise the Attorney General on the many challenges that confront the Department of Justice every day.

Mr. Finegan plans to return to the private sector.



Updated May 15, 2024