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Press Release

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney to Leave Office after Stellar 14-Year Career

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today that Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr. is leaving the office for private practice after a 14-year career in the District of New Jersey, during which he served in a variety of key roles and made immense contributions to the cause of justice.

Cortes, who came to the office in 2010, oversaw the office’s Health Care Fraud Unit and was deputy chief of the Special Prosecutions Division before taking over as Executive U.S. Attorney. He also worked as a line attorney in the office, trying several federal criminal trials, as well as investigating and taking guilty pleas in some of the office’s most significant matters.

“Lee Cortes is one of the finest attorneys to have worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He has worked on and supervised some of our most complex and important matters and has always conducted himself in the highest traditions of the office. As Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, Lee has been part of my core management team, overseeing a staff of more than 300 as we work together every day to keep New Jersey safe. In his 14 years with the office, Lee has set a standard of excellence that serves as a model for all of our Assistant U.S. Attorneys.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

While serving as chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit, Cortes supervised a dozen Assistant U.S. Attorneys and directed criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of corporations, executives, doctors, pharmacies, and others for health care-related offenses. These included health care fraud and violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He also directed the unit’s qui tam practice and supervised health care-related False Claims Act actions.

As deputy chief of the Special Prosecutions Division, Cortes supervised a dozen federal prosecutors handing public corruption matters, including prosecutions for civil rights violations.

“As a prosecutor, Lee has always acted with integrity, demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fairness, and worked extraordinarily hard to ensure just outcomes,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “His achievements will be remembered, and his presence will be missed.”

Updated March 13, 2024

Office and Personnel Updates
Press Release Number: 24-092