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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield Honored by Department of Justice at Executive Office for United States Attorneys Director's Awards Ceremony

Deputy AG Sally Yates, EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson recognize select employees at event in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Oregon was one of 160 recipients recognized by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 32nd annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

The District of Oregon was one of 33 districts represented at the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In her prepared remarks, Deputy Attorney General Yates said, “The achievements being recognized today reflect the breadth of the department’s responsibilities, and some of our most significant challenges.   From dismantling dangerous gangs, drug cartels and human trafficking operations to tackling political corruption, white collar crimes, and international terrorism, these awardees have taken on our toughest cases.  And the citizens of our country are safer because of their work.”

“We honor the truly talented and dedicated legal and administrative personnel in the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and our law enforcement partners who everyday touch lives in our communities, protect the American people, and work to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice,” said Director Wilkinson. 

Chatfield was nominated for and received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney (Criminal) for his work in the prosecution of Carson Helicopter, Inc. executives, Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips, and their conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and making false statements in defrauding the United States Forest Service.  Following a firefighting helicopter crash that caused the deaths of nine people, and severely injured four others, Chatfield led the team who discovered a complex trail of lies made by Metheny and Phillips.  His persistence revealed that the defendants submitted helicopter contract bids to the Forest Service with falsified weight and balance charts and that they altered Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performance charts.  These charts were used by the Forest Service in determining whether Carson’s helicopters met minimum contract payload specifications.  Contracts in the amount of $51 million were awarded to Carson due to the falsified documents, and it received nearly $19 million dollars before the Forest Service discovered the fraud and cancelled Carson’s contracts.

“Byron Chatfield’s work on this extraordinarily difficult case was exemplary,” said U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.  “He and the team of investigators spent countless hours unraveling the fraud and tackled challenge after challenge in a scheme extremely complex and masterfully concocted.  But because of Byron’s strong belief in justice and his determination to hold the two corportate executives personally responsible for their deceit, the victims' families of this tragedy gained a measure of crucial closure.  We as an organization are extremely proud of Byron as a member of the U.S. Attorney family. We salute his courage, dedication, and determination to see that justice is done on a daily basis.”

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 http://www.justice.gov/usao.

From left: U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield

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Updated June 1, 2016