The District’s Criminal Division is responsible for prosecuting a wide array of federal criminal offenses, falling broadly into the following categories: violent crimes, major crimes, organized crime, economic crimes, and special prosecutions. The Criminal Division is also responsible for handling seizures/forfeitures of assets representing the proceeds of federal crimes.
The Criminal Division is the largest of the District’s Divisions, with more than 30 Criminal Assistant U.S. Attorneys on staff in the New Orleans headquarters office. These Assistant U.S. Attorneys work hand-in-hand with agents and officers from a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations who violate criminal laws.
General Crimes Unit
Prosecutors assigned to this unit work with the spectrum of federal investigative agencies (some twenty-five), including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U. S. Customs Service, U. S. Postal Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, U. S. Marshal's Service, U. S. State Department, Secret Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), U. S. Department of Agriculture, U. S. Department of Education, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U. S. Department of Labor/Office of Labor-Management Standards, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Border Patrol, Railroad Retirement Board, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Small Business Administration, and Social Security Administration (SSA), among others.
The members of this unit routinely handle the investigation and prosecution of a broad range of federal criminal violations, from minor offenses to the complex ones, such as public corruption, credit card fraud, postal thefts, immigration and naturalization offenses, passport fraud, defense procurement fraud, Title 7 food stamp violations, crimes occurring on government property under the assimilated crimes act, Customs violations, money laundering, labor racketeering, and others, to name a few.
The General Crimes Unit is additionally responsible for the prosecution and investigation of civil rights violations, federal elections violations, hate crimes, environmental crimes, child support enforcement, Violence Against Women Act cases, migratory waterfowl violations, and petty offenses.
Health Care Fraud
The Health Care Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes crimes involving fraud and abuse in the health care industry. The principal focus of the unit is prosecuting major fraud directed at federal programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and hospitals run by the Veterans Administration. These matters include the sale of unapproved or altered drugs, illegal marketing of drugs for unapproved uses, illegal kickbacks, improper billing, and improper diversion of controlled substances. Frequently, these matters arise from qui tam complaints filed by whistle blowers and require close coordination with other components of the Department of Justice.
Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
The Narcotics/OCDETF Unit investigates and prosecutes significant drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Targets include individuals who organize, direct, finance, or are otherwise engaged in high-level illegal drug trafficking, as well as those who use otherwise legitimate businesses to facilitate the distribution of drugs and disbursal of drug proceeds. In conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Homeland Security U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), members of the unit commonly conduct court-authorized wiretap and financial investigations. In addition, the Narcotics/OCDETF Unit works cooperatively with many state, county, and local drug enforcement agencies.
Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering
The Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit provides support to the Criminal and Special Prosecutions Divisions in forfeiting assets that are the proceeds of criminal activity or were used to facilitate criminal activity. In addition, the unit prosecutes defendants for money laundering, violating currency reporting requirements, and conducting illegal money transmitting businesses. The unit is also responsible for civil asset forfeitures, in which the government utilizes civil in rem actions, rather than criminal prosecutions, to seek the forfeiture of the proceeds of criminal activity and property used to facilitate criminal activity.