United States Attorney Leaving Office
HARRISBURG-United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, 75, of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, has submitted his resignation and announced his retirement, effective October 1, 2016.
Mr. Smith is retiring after serving for more than six years as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which consists of 33 counties in central Pennsylvania and has offices in Harrisburg, Scranton and Williamsport. Mr. Smith was appointed United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by President Barack Obama in June 2010.
Born in Wilkes-Barre and a graduate of King’s College and Georgetown University Law School. Mr. Smith previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1987, as Pennsylvania’s first Inspector General from 1987-1991 under Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., and in the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office and Treasury Department under Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. from 1997 to 2009. Mr. Smith served in the U.S. Navy between 1962-1966 and was honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant (J.G.).
As United States Attorney, Mr. Smith has directed major federal criminal and civil litigation: He oversaw the successful completion of significant public corruption cases, including two Luzerne County judges convicted in the “Kids for Cash” investigation, two Lackawanna County commissioners convicted in a “pay to play” scheme, a State Senator convicted for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion, the Marketing Director of the State Liquor Control Board, convicted for taking bribes from vendors doing business with the LCB, and the continuing pay-to-play investigation related to Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department.
During Mr. Smith’s term, the office’s Criminal Division designed and implemented programs in furtherance of the Department of Justice “Smart on Crime” initiative. For example, the office has emphasized the prosecution of violent crime, gun crimes, and drug crimes by recidivists in high-crime areas within the district. Last year, 21 members of the violent “Southside” street gang based in York, Pennsylvania were convicted in a landmark RICO prosecution which culminated in a 7-week jury trial involving 12 gang members. Another “Smart on Crime” initiative initiated by the office under Mr. Smith is focused on the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic plaguing the nation and the district. The office has adopted a zero tolerance policy for prosecuting these cases but has also conducted various community outreach programs, including a Heroin and Opioid Abuse Symposium scheduled for today at the Central Penn College in Enola, Pennsylvania. These initiatives have been undertaken in close coordination with federal, state and local agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police, local police departments and District Attorneys.
In the area of white-collar crimes, the office continued its nationally recognized work as a leader in prosecuting cross-border advance fee/mass marketing fraud cases in coordination with the United States Postal Inspection Service. This decade-long project has been highlighted by the prosecution of approximately 40 Western Union and MoneyGram agents and the creation of a $100 million fund as part of a settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice and MoneyGram. The fund is being used to reimburse hundreds of victims of fraud schemes in the District and throughout the country.
Smith’s term also saw the office’s successful prosecution of owners and operators of Schuylkill Products, who were convicted in the largest disadvantaged business enterprise fraud in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Penn National Race Track investigation has resulted in the conviction of trainers, veterinarians and track officials involved in the rigging of horse races. The office, working with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement, completed the prosecution of the developer in the multi-million dollar Harrisburg Capital View fraud case.
The office’s Civil Division played the lead role in the effort by the Department of Justice to settle a long-term dispute between federal agencies and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania related to Medicaid funds and managed care and nutrition assistance for aliens. As a result, the State agreed to a settlement which included a $48 million reimbursement to the federal government.
The office expanded its efforts and resources to address criminal and civil health care fraud and is working closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Pennsylvania state agencies to prosecute and penalize illegal diversion of prescription drugs.
Mr. Smith’s retirement plans include family time, travel and armchair oversight of the major league baseball post-season.
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