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Press Release

Attorney General Eric Holder Recognizes District Of Massachusetts Employees

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
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BOSTON – Members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston were recognized today by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 30th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C.

Assistant United States Attorneys Richard L. Hoffman, Neil J. Gallagher, Jr., Linda M. Ricci, Forensic Auditor Lori Moccaldi, Public Affairs Officer Christina DiIorio-Sterling, and former AUSA Patricia M. Connolly were among the members of the Department of Justice recognized by the Attorney General in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In his prepared remarks to awardees, Attorney General Holder said, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer. Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”

EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson echoed those sentiments, saying to the recipients, “You have persevered, and remained focused and motivated – achieving remarkable results in work that makes a difference in the lives of citizens across our great country. The vast scope of your collective accomplishments is nothing short of exceptional.”

In the category of Superior Performance by a Litigative Team, Assistant United States Attorneys Richard Hoffman, Neil Gallagher and Linda Ricci, along with paralegal Lori Moccaldi were recognized for the exceptional investigation and prosecution of a complex money laundering scheme dubbed “Operation Fire and Ice.” The team obtained the conviction of high-level money launderers in Colombia and the seizure of more than 120 banks accounts which had a substantial deterrent on criminal financial markets in Venezuela and Colombia.

In March 2009, the DEA launched the undercover money laundering investigation which resulted in the seizure of more than $151 million. The seizure froze the entire “permuta” market for several days and was widely reported in the news in South America as well as the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The prosecution of Rama K. Vyasulu, one of the principals who opened the bank accounts used to launder millions in drug proceeds, and the resulting seizure, shut down a parallel criminal market that was used to launder millions of dollars of drug money through Venezuela and Colombia. The investigation resulted in the indictment, extradition and conviction of 12 defendants from Colombia for laundering drug proceeds for La Oficinia de Envigado, a violent drug cartel and organized crime group based on Medellín, Colombia. The DEA executed more than 50 seizure warrants that led to the seizure of more than $10 million in tainted proceeds in U.S. bank accounts.

Lori Moccaldi, a Forensic Auditor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, oversaw the analysis of voluminous bank records and other financial data. The initial phase of the case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Scott Paccagnini of the Asset Forfeiture Money Laundering Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Hoffman and Neil Gallagher of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. The second phase of the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Ricci and Neil Gallagher, also of the U.S. Attorney Office in Massachusetts.

Christina DiIorio-Sterling received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance in Public Affairs. DiIorio-Sterling was recognized for her extraordinary efforts during the Boston Marathon bombing case and the capture and subsequent trial of FBI Top 10 fugitive, James “Whitey” Bulger.

Following the explosions at the Boston Marathon, Ms. Sterling assembled and managed a team to inform the nation about this unprecedented incident. Her work during the chaotic days following the bombing was instrumental in providing information that the public could trust. In addition to managing a joint information center, she was responsible for the coordination of press conferences attended by hundreds of media outlets from around the world, and populated with leaders from the highest levels of federal, state and local government.

On the evening of Bulger’s capture, Ms. Sterling coordinated the media coverage, working through the night to prepare statements, field questions from the press and organize a press conference. Her use of social media introduced the public to the USAO in a novel way and paved the path for the ground-breaking efforts she later employed during the Boston Marathon Bombing case.

Patricia M. Connolly received the James Robert Browning Award for Exceptional Service. Connolly was recognized for her dedication to the DOJ community while serving as the Executive Office for United States Attorneys Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) and Health Care Fraud (HCF) Coordinator from 2007 to 2013.

“Each and every day, the employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office demonstrate exceptional dedication to advancing the cause of justice,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Their work is not solely motivated by winning cases, but by preserving public safety in communities across Massachusetts. I am honored to work alongside these committed public servants, and proud to recognize their hard work and tremendous accomplishments.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit

Updated December 15, 2014