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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nineteen Individuals in The Southern District of Florida Receive Attorney General Awards

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch recognized 376 department employees for their distinguished public service today at the 64th Annual Attorney General’s Awards Ceremony.  Forty-seven other individuals outside of the department were also honored for their work.  This annual ceremony recognizes individuals for their outstanding service and dedication to carrying out the missions of the Department of Justice. 

Nineteen individuals from the Southern District of Florida are honored with an award.

“The honorees from the Southern District of Florida represent federal prosecutors and their law enforcement partners whose steadfast commitment to public service has had an international impact on the illicit narcotics trade and resulted in justice for defrauded investors,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “These award recipients have made invaluable contributions to the mission of the Department of Justice and their respective agencies.  I am incredibly proud of their work and applaud their well-deserved recognition.”

“The Attorney General’s Awards provide us with a rare opportunity to honor the efforts of outstanding department employees and our invaluable partners across the federal government and at the state and local levels,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “Their work has made our nation – and our world – stronger, safer and more just, and I am proud of and inspired by each and every one of them.”

The following individuals from the Southern District of Florida were recognized for the following awards:

The Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement recognizes outstanding professional achievements by law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice.  Two Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement were presented this year.

One award recognized, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marton Gyires; from the DEA’s Miami Field Office, Group Supervisor Jarod A. Forget, Special Agents John P. Garcia, Amber M. McKeone and Robert J. Roth and Intelligence Analyst Christine M. Galluccio; from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Detective Karin Alvarez; from the city of North Miami Beach Police Department, Sergeant William Beauparlant; from the Davie Police Department, Detective Lisa V. Choquette; from the Coconut Creek Police Department, Detective Angela L. Hofer; from the city of Coral Springs Police Department, Detective Chad L. Kuschel; and from the Miami-Dade Police Department, Detective Robert D. Love.

Operation Driving Dirty dismantled the Consolidated Priority Organization Target linked to transnational drug trafficking organizations, to include Los Urabeños, at an unprecedented rate.  The recipients worked extensively with foreign DEA offices and host country counterparts in China, Hong Kong, Guatemala, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Panama, Canada and the Netherlands.  The international partnerships were unparalleled as Operation Driving Dirty led to significant worldwide seizures, arrests and prosecutions.  As a result of leads provided to the DEA Caracas Country Office, Venezuelan counterparts seized $7 million, deemed one of the largest currency seizures in that country’s history.  Additionally, while working with its partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the team conducted a substantial financial investigation into the drug trafficking organization’s money laundering operations, which led to the civil forfeiture of numerous bank accounts.  This cooperative effort with the U.S. Attorney’s Office led to the arrest and prosecution of over 50 high-level defendants to include the regional priority organization target, Ronen Nahmani, who was identified as one of the largest synthetic marijuana distributors in the United States.  To this end, Operation Driving Dirty led to seizures totaling 6,349 kilograms of cocaine, 28 kilograms of heroin, 15 pounds of methamphetamine, 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana and precursor chemicals, 21 weapons and $30 million.

The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service is the Justice Department’s second-highest award for employee performance.  The recipients of this award exemplify the highest commitment to the department’s mission.  Seventeen Distinguished Service Awards were presented this year to individuals or teams of people.

A Distinguished Service Award was presented to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle B. Alvarez, Jeffrey N. Kaplan, Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Alison W. Lehr, Paul F. Schwartz, Evelyn B. Sheehan and Madeleine Shirley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

In October 2009, it was discovered that attorney Scott Rothstein was conducting one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history through the operation of the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt & Adler P.A. (RRA).  The basis of the scheme was the sale of securities in which investors purchased the rights to a stream of payments from corporate entities which ostensibly had reached confidential settlements with purported plaintiffs in sexual harassment, employment discrimination and whistleblower cases.  Settlements were available for purchase in amounts ranging from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars.  During the operation of the scheme, hundreds of investors remitted more than $1.2 billion to RRA, which funds were utilized to pay previous investors in the scheme to finance a lavish lifestyle for the participants, and to make political and charitable contributions which enhanced the prestige and visibility of RRA, thereby enhancing RRA’s ability to attract new investors.  During the ensuing six years of litigation, 29 defendants, including attorneys and public officials, were convicted and sentenced on charges including racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, income tax fraud, campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, extortion and civil rights violations.  Additionally, through forfeiture proceedings instituted by the government, coupled with proceedings in bankruptcy court and other ancillary civil proceedings, more than $400 million in assets were ultimately recovered, resulting in full restitution to the defrauded investors.

 

Updated November 10, 2016