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Chief, Criminal Division - William J. Ferland

William J. Ferland, a career prosecutor, joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island in May 2010, after having served as a Rhode Island state prosecutor for more than 20 years. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland was appointed Criminal Chief in July 2016.

From June 2012, until his appointment as Criminal Chief, Mr. Ferland served as Senior Litigation Counsel.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Ferland has, among his many accomplishments, overseen the investigation and prosecution of organized crime in Rhode Island. These investigations and prosecutions resulted in the dismantling of the leadership of the New England La Cosa Nostra in Rhode Island, and the prosecution of numerous members and associates of organized crime. Additionally, Mr. Ferland has successfully led many investigations and prosecutions of defendants in arson for profit schemes and violent crime matters, including drug trafficking conspiracies and firearms cases.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Ferland, a former patrolman, detective and police sergeant in East Greenwich, R.I., from 1982-1990, served in numerous capacities as a R.I. Assistant Attorney General, including Chief of the Criminal Division, Chief of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit, and Chief of the Welfare Fraud Unit. He also served as Senior Trial Counsel, coordinating and overseeing the investigation and prosecution of high profile felony matters.

Mr. Ferland graduated magna cum laude from Rhode Island College in May 1982. He earned his Juris Doctor and graduated magna cum laude from New England School of Law in 1989.

Mr. Ferland has served as an adjunct faculty member at Roger Williams University Metropolitan College and the Community College of Rhode Island providing instruction in criminal law. He has also served as an instructor at the Rhode Island Police Training Academy.

Updated July 13, 2016

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