Michael D. Anderson, Chief
The Criminal Division is responsible for prosecuting violations of federal criminal law in the Eastern District of California (EDCA). Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) in the Criminal Division work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to prevent, investigate, and prosecute all types of federal crimes.
There are four Criminal Division litigating units in the Sacramento office and two in the Fresno and Bakersfield offices. The Criminal Division also has two district-wide litigating units: the National Security Unit, and the Appeals and Training Unit.
In addition, a district-wide Victim-Witness Unit, which is comprised of victim-witness professionals, supports trial teams, and provides victim services in the Sacramento and Fresno offices. Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) attorneys are assigned to each litigating unit to assist in prosecuting a wide variety of computer related crimes.
The Criminal Division follows a collaborative “one team” approach. This means that AUSAs frequently work cases in partnership across units and offices to develop AUSA skill sets and to ensure that cases are staffed with AUSAs with a broad range of expertise.
The National Security Unit handles national security matters in the office, including international terrorism, domestic terrorism, espionage/counterintelligence, threat and hoax cases, and infrastructure protection matters. It includes coordinators in both Sacramento and Fresno who report directly to the Chief of the Criminal Division.
Camil Skipper, Unit Chief
Appellate AUSAs review all criminal appellate filings, supervise moot courts before oral arguments in appellate cases, provide legal advice to AUSAs, acts as liaison on appellate matters with the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division and the Solicitor General in Washington, D.C., and write briefs and argue cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appellate chief and training coordinator also supervise newly hired prosecutors in a dedicated Training Unit. During their year in the Training Unit, AUSAs prosecute a variety of federal offenses while participating in a unique, multipronged program designed to build strong investigative and courtroom skills and to reinforce a commitment to ethical prosecution.
Rosanne Rust, Unit Chief
The White Collar Crime Unit in the Sacramento office works with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute a wide range of complex matters, including sophisticated financial and corporate frauds, civil rights violations involving law enforcement officers, public corruption at both the state and federal level, money laundering schemes, tax fraud, and serious, domestic and international child exploitation offenses.
In recent years, the unit has prosecuted cases including a billion-dollar corporate investment and tax fraud, civil rights violations involving sexual assault and death by law enforcement officers, and bribery of public officials. Through one of only three COVID Fraud Strike Forces in the country, the unit also prosecutes large scale pandemic fraud, including cases involving organized criminal organizations.
Audrey Hemesath, Unit Chief
The Special Prosecutions Unit handles an array of criminal matters, including arson, human trafficking, public corruption, crimes against children, civil rights violations, hate crimes, and immigration law offenses. Prosecutors in this unit also focus on the investigation and prosecution of economic crimes in the areas of money laundering, tax evasion, identity theft, and investment fraud.
The unit has also developed a significant federal environmental crime practice, holding accountable and seeking to deter corporations, executives, and individuals who damage the district’s many natural resources.
Michael Beckwith, Unit Chief
The Transnational Organized Crime (“TOC”) Unit focuses its investigations and prosecutions on high-level members of transnational organized crime networks engaged in money laundering and large-scale drug trafficking. Its prosecutor-led, multi-agency investigations seek to disrupt or dismantle the leadership and financial structures of these international criminal organizations, often employing international extradition processes.
Prosecutors in the TOC Unit operate in an inter-agency environment, including through leadership of one of the nation’s nineteen OCDETF Strike Forces, which brings together federal and other law enforcement partners to conduct long-term investigations of international criminal networks. They also work closely with the Violent Crime and Firearms Trafficking Unit to address public safety threats to the district posed by firearms and narcotics.
Jason Hitt, Unit Chief
The Violent Crime and Firearms Trafficking Unit focuses on disrupting and dismantling violent criminal networks operating in the district. AUSAs in the unit work with law enforcement agents on intelligence-based investigations of violent organized crime groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood and Nuestra Familia, and large-scale firearms trafficking organizations to prosecute Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”), federal murder and murder-for-hire, and federal drug and firearms trafficking cases.
Through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”) initiative and one of the Justice Department’s five Cross-Jurisdiction Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces, the unit also prosecutes violent offenders and engages in outreach to reduce violence. It seeks to make neighborhoods safer by addressing the drivers of violence in our communities, and it works closely with Transnational Organized Crime Unit to address public safety threats to the district posed by firearms and narcotics.
Fresno and Bakersfield Offices:
Kirk Sherriff, Fresno Office Chief
Kirk Sherriff is the Chief of the Fresno and Bakersfield offices and helps oversee the criminal units in those offices. The Fresno and Bakersfield office chief also serves as a liaison on behalf of the U.S. Attorney to federal, state, and local law enforcement, and to the wider community, in the southern half of the district.
Henry Carbajal, Unit Chief
The White Collar Crime Unit is responsible for prosecuting a wide range of crimes that impact the safety, public services, and the economic security of those living in the southern part of the district, including health care fraud, mortgage fraud, public corruption involving state and federal officials, child exploitation crimes, cybercrimes, tax evasion, investment fraud, and other economic crimes.
In furtherance of these investigations and cases, the unit uses a variety of traditional white collar and other investigative techniques, including confidential sources, undercover operations, and grand jury investigations. In recent years, this has led to significant public corruption cases against elected officials and large-scale pandemic related fraud and corporate fraud cases.
Kim Sanchez, Unit Chief
The Narcotics and Violent Crime Unit prosecutes federal crimes that have a significant impact on community safety. Prosecutors in the unit work with law enforcement agents to investigate and bring charges in cases involving gun trafficking, gang and gun violence, human trafficking, hate crimes, major drug trafficking and money laundering, opioid overdose deaths, and transnational organized crime networks.
Through the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”) initiative, the unit also works with law enforcement and community leaders to address the most pressing violent crime problems in communities. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.