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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace Announces New Leadership for Criminal Division and Long Island Division

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Announcement Comes After New Civil Division Leadership in September 2023

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced today the appointment of Alixandra E. Smith as the Office’s Chief of the Criminal Division as well as John J. Durham as Chief of the Long Island Division and Chief of the Criminal Section of the Long Island Division. Additionally, in September 2023, Richard K. Hayes was named the Office’s Chief of the Civil Division.

“I make these announcements with tremendous pride and excitement. Alix, John and Rich are brilliant legal minds with vast expertise in serving the Office, through both impressive casework and leadership positions.  I have the utmost confidence they will continue to do what they do best – inspire and lead their teams in the pursuit of equal justice,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace.

Alixandra E. Smith

Ms. Smith joined the Office in 2012 and has served in the General Crimes, Organized Crime and Gangs, and Business and Securities Fraud (BSF) Sections, and as a Deputy Chief of BSF, Chief of BSF and a Criminal Division Deputy Chief.  Among other roles, Ms. Smith is Vice Chair of the Criminal Division Hiring Committee, Chair of the Office’s e-Litigation Committee and co-teaches the EDNY Prosecution Externship at New York University Law School.  Ms. Smith is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the Office, she worked as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and at Jenner & Block LLP, and clerked for the Honorable Faith Hochberg, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, as well as the Honorable Julio Fuentes, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

During her time in the Office, Alix has investigated and prosecuted significant white-collar cases.  She co-led the investigation and prosecution of United States v. Shkreli and Greebel, in which the defendants were charged with orchestrating four interrelated schemes to defraud investors in two hedge funds of more than $7 million, to steal more than $10 million from a public company and to manipulate the price and trading volume of the public company’s stock.  Both defendants were convicted following back-to-back six-week and 11-week trials in 2017, and Alix successfully argued both appeals.  In several cases related to United States v. Odebrecht and United States v. Braskem, Alix led the Office’s team which, along with the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section (Fraud Section), prosecuted two Brazilian-based petrochemical companies that paid almost a billion dollars in bribes to government officials in at least 12 countries in order to win business.  Both companies pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and agreed to pay a combined penalty of at least $3.2 billion to resolve charges in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland.  A number of individuals were also convicted for their roles in the bribery scheme, including Braskem’s Chief Executive Officer.  In United States v. AmerisourceBergen, Alix led the criminal prosecution of the second-largest drug distributor in the United States, which ultimately paid a combined total of $885 million to resolve civil and criminal liability stemming from its distribution, over a period of ten years, of millions of syringes of oncology drugs to immunocompromised cancer patients nationwide that were prepared under insanitary conditions and contaminated.  The criminal case was resolved with a $260 million penalty, and a subsidiary of the company pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.  And in United States v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and related cases, which were prosecuted in conjunction with the Fraud Section and the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, Alix led the Office’s team in the prosecution of investment bank Goldman Sachs (Goldman), its subsidiary and individuals, who were charged for their roles in a scheme to pay $1.6 billion in bribes to government officials and launder billions of dollars in criminal proceeds.  The case was resolved when Goldman’s subsidiary pled guilty to a FCPA violation, Goldman entered a DPA and paid $2.9 billion in criminal penalties as part of a global resolution with eight different foreign and domestic authorities, and a Goldman banker was convicted of FCPA and money laundering charges after a nine-week trial. 

In addition, Ms. Smith has investigated and prosecuted important violent crimes cases, including United States v. Rivera et al, in which the leader and co-founder of the TF Mafia gang were each convicted of, among other crimes, racketeering, murder, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, sex trafficking of children and firearms offenses following an 11-week trial; and United States v. Lopez. et al., in which four MS-13 members were convicted of murdering a fellow MS-13 gang member whom they suspected of being a cooperating witness.

Among other awards, Ms. Smith is the recipient of the Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for the Trial of Litigation, the Harry L. Stimson Medal, the Assistant Attorney General’s (AAG) Award for Exceptional Service, the AAG Award for Distinguished Service and the EOUSA Director’s Award.


John J. Durham

Mr. Durham joined the Office in October 2005 and has served in the General Crimes Section and Long Island Criminal Section.  Mr. Durham has been appointed to several leadership positions in the Office and the Department of Justice, including Deputy Chief for the Long Island Criminal Section, the Office’s Capital Case Coordinator, the Attorney General’s Review Committee on Capital Cases and Chair of the MS-13 Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force.  In August 2019, Mr. Durham was appointed to serve as the Director of Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), a Department of Justice initiative to combat La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), where he spearheaded indictments against MS-13’s highest-ranking international leaders.  He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1998 and from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2001. Mr. Durham clerked for United States District Judge Stephen C. Robinson in the Southern District of New York.

During his time in the Office, Mr. Durham has investigated, prosecuted and supervised a broad range of federal offenses, including racketeering, murders, terrorism, civil rights, obstruction of justice, armed robberies, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, firearms and public corruption.  Most significantly, he has directed the Office’s efforts to dismantle the operations of MS-13 in the EDNY, as well as nationally and internationally.  In a series of EDNY indictments, he has led teams of AUSAs and investigators that have arrested and convicted hundreds of MS-13 leaders, members and associates, including charges related to more than 65 murders committed in this district between January 2008 and the present.  United States v. Amaya-Sanchez, et al.; United States v. Acosta, et al.; United States v. Cerna, et al.; United States v. Alvarenga et al.; and United States v. Prado et al.  As the Director of JTFV, Mr. Durham led a team of AUSAs and law enforcement officers from across the country and secured significant indictments against MS-13’s command and control structure across the United States, Central America and Mexico, including the first use of national security charges against MS-13 leaders.  United States v. Henriquez, et al. (EDNY); United States v. Arevalo-Chavez, et al. (EDNY); United States v. Carias, et al. (SDNY); and United States v. Melgar-Diaz, et al. (EDVA).  In addition to his work combatting MS-13, Mr. Durham has prosecuted defendants who attempted to travel to Yemen for the purpose of joining al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula  (AQAP) and fighting jihad against United States allies (United States v. Kaliebe/Zea), and members of numerous other violent criminal organizations, including the Bloods, 18th Street gang, Crips, Salvadorans With Pride and violent narcotics trafficking and robbery crews based in the district.  Finally, in addition to his violent crime work, Mr. Durham has prosecuted a number of significant and sensitive public corruption and civil rights matters, including the former Chief of Department for the Suffolk County Police Department (United States v. Burke, et al.), the former Suffolk County District Attorney and former Chief of Investigations and Chief of the Government Corruption Bureau for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (United States v. Spota and McPartland), a then-sitting Nassau County Legislator (United States v. Corbin), a New York City Police Department sergeant (United States v. Green) and a Food and Drug Administration official (United States v. Oliver, et al.).

Among other awards, Mr. Durham is the recipient of the Charles E. Rose Award; Henry L. Stimson Medal; EOUSA Director’s Award for Superior Performance; National Association of Former United States Attorneys, Exceptional Service Award; and several Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Awards.


Richard K. Hayes

Mr. Hayes joined in the Office’s Civil Division in 1991, and since then has litigated nearly every type of case.  He had been a Deputy Chief of the Civil Division since 2012 with overall supervisory responsibility for the Division’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement, Civil Rights, Drug and Listed Chemical, Environmental and Health Care Fraud practices.  Prior to serving as Deputy Chief, Mr. Hayes was the Office’s Chief of Affirmative Civil Enforcement.  Mr. Hayes graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where he was on the Moot Court Editorial Board and a member of the Fordham Urban Law Journal.  He received his B.A. in History and Political Science summa cum laude from Fordham University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Mr. Hayes has handled some of the largest matters with the Office and the Department of Justice stemming from the Financial Crisis.  These included the 2012 $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement, which resolved federal and state claims against the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers.  In addition to recovering damages incurred by the Federal Housing Administration, the settlement provided for billions of dollars in homeowner relief nationwide.  Mr. Hayes also originated and led the Office’s Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) practice, a component of the Department of Justice’s RMBS Working Group.  This entailed building teams that at one point comprised more than sixty AUSAs, other attorneys and professional staff which investigated banks that underwrote hundreds of billions of dollars in failed RMBS.  Ultimately, six banks and several individuals paid more than $11 billion in penalties and provided $6.6 billion in consumer relief to resolve claims under the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act.  All told, the Office has received over $20 billion in credit for financial crisis era cases that Mr. Hayes handled and supervised.

In addition to his financial fraud work, Mr. Hayes has obtained monetary and injunctive relief in a wide range of matters.  For example, in United States v. Staten Island University Hospital, he led an investigation of multiple Medicare and Medicaid billing schemes and negotiated an $89 million global settlement of civil fraud claims.  In United States v. Lawrence Aviation Industries, Mr. Hayes and his team members obtained a $48 million judgment after trial in a Superfund cost recovery and penalty case.  And, in United States v. Local 14 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, he filed and resolved civil RICO claims, securing appointment of a court-ordered monitorship over the mob-infiltrated union.

Mr. Hayes is a two-time recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, a two-time recipient of the Director’s Award for Superior Performance, and a recipient of the Henry L. Stimson Medal for outstanding performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 28, 2024

Office and Personnel Updates