Molly Lorber, Criminal Chief
Desiree Grace, Deputy Criminal Chief
Elaine Lou, Deputy Criminal Chief
R. David Walk, Deputy Criminal Chief
The Criminal Division is the largest component of the Office and is made up of nine separate units that handle all criminal matters, except for those involving public corruption and criminal civil rights offenses. In addition to criminal AUSAs, all of the District’s affirmative civil enforcement (ACE) lawyers (other than those who handle the affirmative civil enforcement of civil rights laws) are assigned to the Criminal Division. These ACE AUSAs handle a broad range of civil enforcement work on behalf of the United States, including health care fraud and other offenses against the government. These cases are often conducted in parallel to criminal investigations into the same subjects.
The Criminal Division is led by the Criminal Chief and three Deputy Criminal Chiefs. Below is an overview of the Criminal Division units.
National Security Unit
Joyce Malliet, Unit Chief
The National Security Unit works closely with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and other law enforcement agencies to prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist operations before they occur, and to investigate and prosecute any planned, threatened, or executed acts of terrorism. The National Security Unit also oversees investigations and prosecutions of threats to critical infrastructure, violations of export control laws, defense contractor fraud, and large-scale immigration offenses. Additionally, the National Security Unit works with the JTTF to identify, collect, and disseminate both foreign and domestic intelligence relevant to ongoing threat assessments and threat mitigation. To foster intelligence sharing and response preparedness, the National Security Unit works with the U.S. Attorney to oversee the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council for the District of New Jersey, a large consortium of federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies and organizations with national security interests.
Economic Crimes Unit
Joshua Haber, Unit Chief
Lauren Repole, Deputy Unit Chief
The Economic Crimes Unit investigates and prosecutes complex fraud cases, including securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, commodities fraud, investor fraud, accounting fraud, corporate fraud, financial institution fraud, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. To uncover these schemes, the unit works in close coordination with FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The unit also frequently coordinates with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Economic Crimes Unit works in close coordination with the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit to maximize the recovery of criminal fraud proceeds and return the money to victims.
Anthony Torntore, Unit Chief
The Cybercrime Unit investigates and prosecutes a broad array of cybercrimes, including those involving ransomware, digital intrusions, business email compromises, hack-to-trade securities fraud schemes, darkweb vendors and marketplaces, intellectual property crimes, digital currency frauds, and other internet-based financial schemes. The Cybercrime Unit partners with state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as U.S.-based regulators, to pursue both domestic and foreign targets, including state-linked actors.
Health Care Fraud Unit
Jason Gould, Unit Chief
David Dauenheimer, Deputy Unit Chief
The Health Care Fraud Unit investigates and prosecutes wide-ranging, complicated health care fraud schemes, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and other criminal schemes affecting the health care industry. The unit prioritizes significant frauds and bribery schemes that impact federal health insurance programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE, and hospitals operated by federal authorities, like the Veterans Administration. The Health Care Fraud Unit also oversees False Claims Act enforcement efforts, which often arise from qui tam complaints filed by whistleblowers. The unit specializes in parallel criminal and affirmative civil enforcement investigations.
Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit
Ari Fontecchio, Unit Chief
The Opioids Unit investigates and prosecutes individuals and businesses that contribute to the ongoing opioid crisis. The unit targets doctors who violate their professional duties and prescribe opioids illegitimately, pharmacists and pharmacies that profit by turning a blind eye to improper prescriptions and diversion of opioids, sales representatives who unlawfully promote opioids, individuals who unlawfully obtain and distribute opioids, and manufacturers and distributors that violate their duties to ensure these medications are not being abused. The unit uses a wide array of civil and criminal enforcement methods to promote compliance with the laws preventing opioid abuse and punish conduct that facilitates opioid abuse. Because investigation of these targets frequently uncovers evidence of health care fraud, the unit works closely with the Health Care Fraud Unit.
Organized Crime/Gangs Unit
Michele Gasparian, Unit Chief
The Organized Crime/Gangs Unit works to disrupt and dismantle the most violent and destructive criminal organizations that operate in New Jersey. The unit focuses on the prosecution of federal interest murder/major violent crimes, narcotics trafficking by criminal organizations, carjackings, gun trafficking, and robberies, as well as labor racketeering and loan sharking offenses. The unit has successfully investigated and prosecuted members of local and national gangs, such as the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and MS-13, as well as traditional organized crime groups operating in this region and emerging groups, such as Russian/Eastern European and Asian criminal organizations. The Organized Crime/Gangs Unit also leads the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) programs, a key aspect of the Office’s violent crime strategy. The VCIs coordinate efforts with state and local law enforcement in specific target cities with substantial violent crime issues with a focus on intelligence and resource sharing. Each VCI meets every other week to report on recent violence, provide updates on ongoing federal, state, and local investigations, and to discuss those who are driving the violence.
Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
Shawn Barnes, Unit Chief
The Narcotics/OCDETF Unit investigates and prosecutes significant drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Subjects include individuals who organize, direct, finance, or are otherwise engaged in high-level illegal drug trafficking, as well as those who use otherwise legitimate businesses to facilitate the distribution of drugs and disbursal of drug proceeds. In conjunction with the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, and ATF, members of the unit commonly conduct court-authorized wiretap and financial investigations. In addition, the Narcotics/OCDETF Unit works cooperatively with many state, county, and local drug enforcement agencies.
General Crimes Unit
Andrew Trombly and Christopher Amore, Unit Chiefs
All new Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Criminal Division start in the General Crimes Unit, where they are introduced to the various aspects of federal criminal prosecution. In the unit, AUSAs learn how to investigate, charge, and bring cases to trial. The unit’s diverse caseload includes bank robberies, child exploitation, firearms offenses, airport crimes, counterfeit currency offenses, and a variety of federal program offenses.
Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit
Sarah Devlin, Unit Chief
The Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit (ARMLU) prosecutes defendants for money laundering, violating currency reporting requirements, and conducting illegal money transmitting businesses. In partnership with other Criminal Division units, ARMLU also uses criminal and civil forfeiture to seize, restrain, and ultimately forfeit the proceeds of crimes prosecuted by the office. The strategic use of asset forfeiture and money laundering statutes can stop criminals from hiding, disguising, and dissipating their criminal profits and deprive them of their ill-gotten gains. Most of the unit’s asset forfeiture work focuses on major fraud cases, where forfeited assets may be available to compensate victims in accordance with Department of Justice policy. Some ARMLU members focus on financial litigation, which uses federal debt collection procedures to enforce restitution and fine orders imposed in criminal cases and collect judgments and penalties awarded to the United States in a variety of civil cases.