The United States Attorney for Southern District of Florida is the district’s chief law enforcement officer. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida (USAO) is organized as follows: Executive Division, Administrative Division, Criminal Division (which is composed of different sections as set forth below), Civil Division, Asset Forfeiture Division, and Appellate Division.
The USAO’s main office is in Miami. The USAO has staffed branch offices in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Ft. Pierce. It has an unstaffed office in Key West. A general description of the Divisions follows:
The Executive Division of the United States Attorney's Office comprises the senior management team, the Training Unit, the Public Affairs Unit, and the Victim-Witness Assistance Unit. The senior management team includes the United States Attorney, the First Assistant United States Attorney, the Executive Assistant United States Attorney, and the Counselor to the United States Attorney. Working closely with the leaders of the Administrative, Appellate, Asset Forfeiture, Civil, and Criminal Divisions, the senior management team oversees and supports the litigation, operations, and administration of the entire District.
The Administrative Division is responsible for planning and executing a comprehensive range of administrative services that support the mission of the United States Attorney's Office. The Division is managed by the Administrative Officer, who is the principal advisor to the United States Attorney and the district on administrative matters. The Administrative Officer provides guidance on the management and use of the district’s financial, human, and physical resources, and on administrative policies, procedures, information, and practices. Administrative programs include: physical and personnel security; human resources management; financial management; acquisitions; space management; systems and information management; automated litigation support; case management and docketing; telecommunication services; procurement; property management; and support services, including mail, supplies, and records management.
The Fiscal Section is responsible for the formulation, execution, and monitoring of the District's financial resources. Responsibilities include the prompt payment of vendor invoices, employee travel program and reimbursement, and management of payroll/human resource allocations.
The Human Resources Section provides management advisory, recruitment, staffing, position classification, employee relations, performance management, awards program, personnel recordkeeping, benefits, and personnel processing services. The Section is also responsible for pay administration and processing time and attendance records.
The Information Technology Section is responsible for all automated systems. The five primary program areas are: office automation; electronic records management; case management; litigation support; and telecommunications. The office automation staff maintain the office network, provide support to the end users, manage the eVoIP telephone system, video conferencing and connectivity maintenance. They are also responsible for electronic records management. The case management staff is responsible for the docketing and reporting of all cases in the District. The litigation support staff is responsible for producing courtroom presentations, audio-visual courtroom setups and assisting the professional staff with trial preparation.
Administrative Support Services
The Administrative Support Services Section is separated into three Units: Support Services, Acquisitions, and Property; Communications; and Facilities Management. The Section is responsible for all acquisitions related to legal services, as well as procurement of supplies, furniture, and office equipment; logistical operations, including communication services, conference setups, internal physical moves, mail and courier services; records and files management; and government vehicles and property management. They also develop and maintain service contracts for office equipment, coordinate space and facility needs of the District's offices, two satellite offices and unstaffed trial preparation space, and provide other support that affects the everyday operation of the Office.
The Security Section is responsible for the safety and security of all employees. The staff manages the physical security needs of all facilities, which include oversight of the District's Special Security Officers and the security identification and access system. Additionally, they ensure the security of office personnel and the safety of classified information. The Security staff is also responsible for the District's Emergency Plans and safety program, such as CPR training, OSHA compliance and safety awareness.
The Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida is represented in all four staffed offices in the District. It is headed by the Chief of the Criminal Division, who is based in the District's main office in Miami. In Miami, Criminal Division activities also are overseen by the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. The Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Fort Pierce Offices each have a Managing Assistant United States Attorney (MAUSA) responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Criminal Division within their regions. The MAUSAs report to the Chief of the Criminal Division in Miami.
More information on the branch offices appears under the divisions/criminal/branch office tab located in the top banner of this internet site.
The Miami Office houses the following Sections: National Security, Economic and Environmental Crimes, Money Laundering, Public Corruption, Special Prosecutions (human trafficking, child pornography matters, gangs), International Narcotics and Money Laundering, Collateral Litigation, and Major Crimes (reactive matters). A Section Chief in the Miami office leads each of those Sections, reporting directly to the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and ultimately to the Criminal Chief. Larger Sections also have at least one Deputy Section Chief who serves as a first line supervisor to assigned AUSAs.
The National Security Section investigates counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and counter-proliferation matters, as well as national security cyber cases.
Economic and Environmental Crimes
The Economic & Environmental Crimes Section investigates and prosecutes a wide variety of federal crimes involving fraud and regulatory offenses that target individuals, corporations, and governmental entities. The Section is composed of four groups that, in general, focus on different subject matter areas. The Section has two general fraud units to address securities and investment fraud, tax fraud, cyber fraud, and other miscellaneous matters; a health care fraud unit targeting Medicare and other forms of health care fraud in South Florida; and an environmental crimes group that prosecutes polluters and endangered species traders who violate the environmental and wildlife protection statutes of the United States. The Economic & Environmental Crimes Section is consistently one of the leading fraud units in the country based on the complexity, number, and variety of cases it prosecutes, often working closely with its counterparts in DOJ’s Fraud Section.
The Money Laundering Section conducts investigations and prosecutions of large-scale money laundering organizations that move and launder substantial amounts of proceeds of criminal activities. The Section prosecutes Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, large scale frauds, narcotics trafficking, and OFAC sanctions violations, among others. The prosecutors in the Money Laundering Section work closely with Asset Forfeiture Division AUSAs and with law enforcement agencies to seize and forfeit millions of dollars in real estate, luxury goods and cash derived from the illegal activities.
Public Corruption and Civil Rights
The Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section prosecutes cases involving corrupt federal, state, and local officials. Recent convictions include City of Opa-Locka officials, including a commissioner, the City Manager, and various department heads, who were operating a pay-to-play scheme regarding permits and city services; four City of Miami police officers taking bribes in exchange for protecting cocaine loads totaling more than 50 kilograms; and a FAA inspector who took money and other things of value in exchange for compromising commercial airline safety inspections.
The Section also prosecutes criminal civil rights violations. Recent convictions include the former Village of Biscayne Park Police Chief, and three of his officers, for falsely arresting two black men in order to clear a rash of burglaries that had become politically sensitive; a Homestead police officer who conducted traffic stops on immigrants to steal money from the victims; two Florida correctional officers who used excessive force against two incarcerated youthful offenders, including whipping one of the victims with a wooden broomstick; and a Hialeah Police Sergeant who repeatedly detained young women, including a juvenile under the age of fifteen, in a room within the police station where the victims were sexually harassed or molested.
The Special Prosecutions Section is primarily responsible for investigating and prosecuting violent crimes involving death or serious bodily injury, and complex exploitation crimes involving children and victims of human trafficking. AUSAs in the Section typically investigate matters involving criminal enterprises, death penalty eligible offenses, sex tourism, schemes to entice children for sexual abuse, and the production and distribution of child sexual abuse material. The Section handles both significant reactive cases and long-term historical and proactive investigations. The Section is also responsible for overseeing the District's Violent Crime, Anti-Gang, Human Trafficking, and Project Safe Childhood programs. AUSAs in the Section participate in community outreach programs to raise public awareness in these subject areas.
International Narcotics and Money Laundering
The International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section (INMLS) consistently leads the nation in the prosecution of high-level narcotics traffickers. Staffed with highly experienced and skilled Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) AUSAs, this Section has distinguished itself by prosecuting the most notorious narco-traffickers in the world. From dismantling the leadership of the infamous Medellin, Cali, and Norte Valle cartels, to extraditing and convicting high-ranking commanders of the Colombian paramilitary and guerilla groups, this Section has been and continues to be relentless in its pursuit of international drug kingpins.
INMLS has a dedicated group of prosecutors devoted to the war against maritime shipments of massive quantities of cocaine. Working closely with their domestic and foreign law enforcement colleagues, INMLS financially cripples international drug trafficking organizations by targeting their money laundering networks.
The USAO’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group, which is headquartered in Doral, Florida, is part of INMLS. HIDTA AUSAs work with agents from ATF, DEA, FBI, HSI and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute high-level transnational drug traffickers.
The Collateral Litigation Section is responsible for most post-conviction collateral matters in the district. Many of these cases concern individuals who have been previously convicted and are requesting review and relief of either their convictions and/or sentences through a varied array of procedural vehicles. This includes motions under 18 U.S.C. § 3583 which raise issues concerning the First Step Act, and amendments to the sentencing guidelines, motions to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 attacking the defendants’ conviction and sentences, and a host of other extraordinary writs such as Coram Nobis. The Collateral Litigation Section is comprised of AUSAs with a wide-ranging level of experience. Most of the Section’s work consists of the litigation and defense of convictions and sentences in cases that have been adjudicated in the Southern District of Florida by either a jury trial or where the defendants have pled guilty.
The Major Crimes Section is responsible for prosecuting and investigating reactive federal crimes that occur in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, as well as conducting investigations into a variety of federal crimes involving: (1) government operations and property, including theft of government funds, food stamp fraud, and threats to the President of the United States, etc.; (2) crimes related to channels of interstate commerce, including alien smuggling, aircraft hijacking, interference with flight crew, etc.; (3) legal process crimes, including obstruction of justice, false statements to federal agents, and bond jumping, etc.; (4) violent crimes, including kidnapping, bank robbery, carjacking, firearms offenses, and gang related activity, etc.; (5) crimes against women, children and families, including child pornography, etc.; (6) immigration offenses; (7) narcotics trafficking, and sales of narcotics; (8) financial crimes, including wire fraud, bank fraud, access device fraud and money laundering; and (9) other crimes that take place in areas within federal jurisdiction, such as national parks and other federal lands and buildings.
Reactive federal crimes that occur in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, or Ft. Pierce are handled by AUSAs in those respective branch offices. More information on the branch offices appears under the divisions/criminal/branch office tab located in the top banner of this internet site.
The Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida represents the United States in a broad array of defensive and affirmative civil lawsuits arising primarily in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. AUSAs in the Civil Division also practice before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Florida state courts.
The Division is headed by the Civil Division Chief, whose office is in Miami. There are four Deputy Chiefs in the Civil Division: three who sit in Miami and one who sits in Fort Lauderdale. The Civil Division management team also includes a Special Counsel, who is responsible for training civil division employees, and a Senior Litigation Counsel who handles civil litigation cases and serves as the Civil Rights Coordinator.
The Civil Division consists of the General Litigation Section, the Health Care Fraud/Non-Health Care Fraud Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Section, the Affirmative Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Financial Litigation Program (FLP).
General Litigation Section
AUSAs in the General Litigation Section primarily handle defensive civil litigation filed against the United States, including tort cases (automobile accidents, premises liability and medical malpractice cases, and others), Bivens actions, employment discrimination cases and Administrative Procedure Act cases. They also handle Social Security disability cases, immigration cases and subpoena matters.
Health Care Fraud (HCF)/Non-Healthcare Fraud Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Section
The Health Care Fraud (HCF) program investigates and litigates a very diverse caseload of civil False Claims Act cases involving fraud on the United States and civil penalty actions. These cases involve a wide variety of federal programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE (covering active duty and retired service members and their families), and the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) (covering federal employees). AUSAs handling health care fraud matters investigate and prosecute a wide range of conduct, including kickbacks, non-rendered services, upcoding and other types of billing fraud, medically unnecessary services, and failure of care cases. The subjects of investigation include individual providers, hospitals, nursing homes, medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, home health providers, community mental health centers, clinics, and durable medical equipment companies, among others. HCF AUSAs also continue to use the federal Fraud Injunction Act to stop ongoing fraud and to freeze assets obtained through health care fraud schemes.
The Non-Healthcare Fraud Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Program is designed to advance and protect the financial and program interests of the United States through civil litigation. The ACE Program focuses on those cases and matters in which the United States can recover money or can advance significant program objectives of various client agencies. ACE AUSAs work to make sure that the government is fully compensated for its losses.
Affirmative Civil Rights Enforcement Section
The Affirmative Civil Rights Enforcement Section has authority to investigate and enforce non-criminal federal civil rights statutes prohibiting discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, religion, disability, and other protected characteristics. The Section, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, collaborates to bring actions to remedy violations and to obtain compensation for persons whose rights have been violated and to implement changes to protect against future violations of federal civil rights laws.
In addition, the Affirmative Civil Rights Enforcement Sections assists with monitoring elections to ensure that all eligible voters have access to the polls and an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
Financial Litigation Program (FLP)
The primary function of the Financial Litigation Program (FLP) is to litigate and enforce the collection of criminal debts owed to the United States and third parties, including criminal restitution, fines, and penalties. FLP AUSAs also enforce civil debts owed to the United States, such as student loans. The AUSAs and support staff in FLP aggressively pursue all available collection avenues to effectively enforce criminal and civil judgments.
Asset Forfeiture Division
The Asset Forfeiture Division handles all the civil and criminal judicial forfeiture matters in the Southern District of Florida. Civil Asset Forfeiture matters are exclusively handled by forfeiture AUSAs. Agency referrals for civil judicial forfeiture are sent to a dedicated email address to facilitate prompt review and assignment. All investigations with asset forfeiture potential, including all OCDETF investigations, and all Indictments and Information’s that contain a forfeiture allegation are assigned to a forfeiture AUSA to handle all forfeiture aspects of the case. Once a case is assigned to a forfeiture AUSA, there is ongoing communication between the forfeiture and Criminal Section AUSA to discuss asset forfeiture at critical stages of a case, including trial, change of plea, and sentencing. Forfeiture personnel also regularly coordinate with personnel in the Financial Litigation Unit of the Civil Division to maximize efforts in the collection of restitution and forfeiture judgments.
The Asset Forfeiture Division is led by a Chief and two Deputy Chiefs.
The Appellate Division is a separate, free-standing Division that handles nearly all appellate work arising in the Southern District of Florida – both criminal and civil. Generally, the Division writes all appellate briefs and argues cases in the Eleventh Circuit, conducts appellate motion practice, handles adverse decisions, and communicates with Department of Justice and Office of Solicitor General. The Division works closely with trial units and provides training to new AUSAs as well as ongoing officewide training.
The Division is one of the largest and busiest in the Department of Justice. By having all criminal and civil appeals handled by appellate specialists, the Appellate Division also is a relatively unique institution among United States Attorney's Offices. Because of the Division's long and successful history, other United States Attorney's Offices seeking to develop a dedicated appellate section have looked to our Division as a model.
The Appellate Division is led by a Chief and two Deputy Chiefs. The Division also has a Senior Appellate Counsel.