Skip to main content
Press Release

Attorney General Merrick Garland Honors Three Spokane Federal Prosecutors for their Outstanding Government Service

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

Spokane, Washington – U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref announced today that three members of her team – Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) Frieda Zimmerman as well as Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) Tyler Tornabene and Dan Fruchter – were honored for their service to the United States and the citizens of Eastern Washington. SAUSA Zimmerman received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter were awarded with the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by Civil AUSAs. Each was honored by Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Annual Director’s Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. earlier today. Attorney General Garland himself is a past recipient of a Director’s Award.

SAUSA Zimmerman, who serves as a SAUSA for the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General, was honored for her incredible contributions to the Department of Justice, including in the areas of white-collar crime, False Claims Act cases, health care fraud, civil rights, and COVID-19 fraud. She is universally respected throughout the Department for her unique expertise in procurement fraud, and she is beloved by agents for her skill, dedication, breadth of expertise, and poise. SAUSA Zimmerman embodies not only the best qualities in a federal prosecutor and SAUSA, but the critically important relationships between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners.

AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter were honored for their work to protect innocent patients, who were being defrauded by their medical providers. AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter resolved allegations against two neurosurgeons, who performed medically unnecessary spinal surgeries and falsely billed federal and state health programs in Eastern Washington. Not only did AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter – along with their state and federal partners – stop the appalling conduct, but their team secured the Eastern District of Washington’s largest-ever health care fraud settlement of $22,690,458. As part of the settlement, Providence Health and Services not only admitted that their doctors endangered patient safety for profit, Providence also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement requiring Providence to implement and maintain quality-of-care and patient safety obligations. Beyond this trailblazing case, AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter have prosecuted numerous nation-wide fraud cases, built a successful COVID-19 Relief Fraud Strike Force, and significantly contributed to the District’s expanded civil rights efforts.

In announcing today’s awards, U.S. Attorney Waldref thanked SAUSA Zimmerman and AUSAs Tornabene and Fruchter for their incredible service. “Today’s awards are a reflection of the amazing work being done in the Eastern District of Washington by our entire team. The AUSAs in our District often face daunting and sometimes dangerous challenges. Yet, Frieda, Tyler, and Dan have dedicated their leadership, time, expertise, and energy to the service of their nation. And they, like each of the members of my office, are devoted to the high ideals and deeply-held values that define our great nation and our mission to ensure justice is meted out fairly and swiftly. Each member of our office routinely sacrifices their time and energy to keep Eastern Washington safe and strong. I am honored to serve alongside such talented government servants, whose commitment to justice is beyond reproach. I am also so grateful for the support and administrative staff, without whom our mission could not be possible.”

SAUSA Zimmerman works at the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General, and serves as a SAUSA at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Spokane, Washington. Through her work at the Department of Energy, SAUSA Zimmerman is able to take on additional cases combating fraud and supporting environmental remediation at the Hanford Cleanup Site.

AUSA Tornabene leads the Civil Rights Unit for the Eastern District of Washington and serves as an AUSA in the Civil Division. AUSA Fruchter leads the office’s Fraud and White Collar Unit and serves as a Deputy Chief in the Criminal Division. He handles both criminal and civil fraud matters.

Civil AUSAa

Richard Barker 
Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-835-6311 or

Updated May 4, 2023