The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California is organized into two litigating divisions, the Criminal Division and Civil Division, with AUSAs in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
The Criminal Division consists of seven sections and two branch offices:
The Appellate Section oversees all Criminal Division appearances before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ensuring the quality of all written filings and oral arguments. The Appellate Section also litigates before the District Court by identifying breaking legal issues, coordinating legal strategy, and participating directly in selected cases.
The Asset Forfeiture Section is responsible for the seizure and forfeiture of assets used in or generated by criminal activity. Asset Forfeiture Section AUSAs institute civil forfeiture actions and assist AUSAs in other sections in including forfeiture allegations in their criminal actions.
The Corporate Fraud Strike Force investigates and prosecutes selected white-collar crimes. Corporate Fraud Strike Force AUSAs are skilled in leading federal grand jury investigations and may use wiretaps, search warrants and other specialized investigative tools as appropriate.
The General Crimes Section is responsible for prosecuting a wide range of federal cases including drug and gun trafficking, unlawful firearm possession, child exploitation, sex and labor trafficking, immigration, bank robbery, white collar and government fraud, counterfeit currency, identity theft, assaults on federal officers, and crimes that occur on federal and Indian land.
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigates drug trafficking organizations including multi-district and trans-national organizations. Joining complex investigations at the earliest stages, OCDETF AUSAs prosecute drug offenses, money-laundering, financial crimes, and cybercrime among other violations. OCDETF AUSAs also investigate cases involving medical professionals whose drug prescriptions are without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the scope of professional practice.
The Organized Crime Strike Force combats criminal enterprises including domestic and international criminal organizations, as well as street and prison gangs. Organized Crime Strike Force AUSAs conduct intelligence-based investigations to target those who use patterns of violence and corruption to foster and maintain criminal enterprises with the ultimate goal of dismantling these enterprises.
The Special Prosecutions Section investigates and prosecutes complex, sophisticated and meaningful criminal offenses in the areas of national security, public corruption, computer hacking, trade secrets, civil rights, environmental crimes, complex frauds, and other economic crimes.
The Oakland Branch Office investigates and prosecutes federal offenses occurring in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The San Jose Branch Office investigates and prosecutes federal offenses occurring in Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. Either branch office may be involved in any of the full range of federal offenses prosecuted by the Criminal Division.
The Civil Division handles three main types of cases: Defensive Litigation, Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE), and Financial Litigation. Typically, Civil AUSAs are assigned primarily to one case category, but often handle a mixed caseload including cases from two or more categories. Civil AUSAs are assigned to the San Jose Branch Office as well as the San Francisco Office.
The Civil Division defends the United States and its agencies in a variety of civil actions, including cases involving federal employment, torts, immigration, constitutional law, challenges to agency actions and civil rights.
Affirmative Civil Enforcement
In ACE cases, the Civil Division mainly prosecutes civil actions to recover damages and penalties for fraud and other misconduct under the False Claims Act, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, and other statutory and common law remedies. The Civil Division also handles affirmative civil rights matters under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other statutes.
The Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) litigates and enforces the collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States and crime victims, including judgments, fines, restitution and penalties.