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Press Release

Four Assistant U.S. Attorneys From The Eastern District Of California Receive Prestigious Department Of Justice Awards

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Attorney General Eric Holder presented three Justice Department employees and one former employee in the Eastern District of California with Attorney General Awards at a ceremony today in Washington DC. These annual awards, which are the highest honors bestowed by the Department, recognize Department employees and other individuals for their dedication to carrying out the Department of Justice’s mission.

“With this important event, we come together to honor some of our nation’s most distinguished, dedicated, and deserving public servants,” said Attorney General Holder. “The hard work and impressive achievements of these 278 award recipients have inspired their colleagues at every level of the U.S. Department of Justice – including me. Their leadership has been indispensable in defining the past year as one of historic accomplishment in the face of nearly unprecedented challenge.”

The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service is the Justice Department’s second highest award for employee performance. The recipients of this award exemplify the highest commitment to the department’s mission. Attorney General Holder presented the Distinguished Service Award to the Eastern District Assistant United States Attorneys for their work that led to an unprecedented civil settlement with JPMorgan Chase.  The settlement negotiations and the predicate fraud investigations they undertook led to what was the largest settlement with a single entity in American history - $13 billion – and the largest Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) penalty ever recovered by the department - $2 billion. The tireless efforts of the recipients advanced core missions of the department by holding wrongdoers accountable for reckless and abusive conduct that contributed to the financial crisis, as well as providing substantial compensation for federal entities supported by American taxpayers and critical assistance to neighborhoods impacted by the mortgage meltdown.

The recipients of the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service include the Eastern District of California’s Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Shelledy, Kelli L. Taylor, and Colleen M. Kennedy and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Elias.

“We are delighted that the Attorney General has recognized Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Shelledy, Kelli L. Taylor, and Colleen M. Kennedy and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Elias for their outstanding contributions to the Department and its mission,” said Benjamin B. Wagner United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California. “These awards are deserved recognition for these skilled attorneys, whose tireless work and dedication brought about such a large settlement. Today’s awardees exemplify what it truly means to be a public servant and we are proud of their extraordinary service.”

The civil settlement with JPMorgan Chase is the largest recovery ever in a case handled by the Eastern District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. The settlement resulted in part from an investigation that determined that JPMorgan sold billions of dollars of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) that were backed by pools of mortgage loans that contained loans that did not comply with the loan originators’ underwriting guidelines, were secured by properties with inflated appraisals, were supported by inaccurate loan-to-value or debt-to-income ratios, or were originated in violation of federal and state laws and regulations, while misrepresenting to investors the quality of the loans in the pools and the risk of loss.

Updated April 8, 2015