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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont Recognizes Exceptional Work at its First Annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony

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

Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont honored a number of individuals from a variety of agencies at its first Annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony. This ceremony was held at the federal building in Burlington, Vermont. Individual investigators were nominated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Staff in a variety of categories for their outstanding work in supporting the Office’s justice mission. The recipients of the awards presented today represent federal, state, local and private agencies from Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. The specific categories and individuals recognized today are as follows:

Exceptional Contribution to a Federal Prosecution Award:
Awards in this category go to those who significantly impact law enforcement’s ability to: 1) arrest, apprehend and prosecute a subject of a federal investigation; 2) rescue and respond to victims; 3) develop cooperating witnesses; and/or 4) identify critical intelligence.

Frank Thornton, Digital Forensic Expert, Blackthorn, Inc., nominated by U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan for work in U.S. v. Michael Foreste and U.S. v. John Jones.

Deb Jasinski, Computer Forensic Examiner, Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, nominated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson for work in U.S. v. Donald Boles.

Michelle Beard, Fiscal and Regulatory Analyst, Medicaid Fraud and Residential Abuse Unit, Vermont Attorney General’s Office, nominated by Civil Division Chief, Nikolas Kerest for work in the investigation and settlement with Dominion Diagnostics.

Investigative Excellence Award:
The recipients of these awards are those whose actions led directly to the arrest of a dangerous subject or to the exposure of a significant criminal or civil conspiracy. This nomination category is intended to recognize an individual for his or her specific acts separate and apart from a team of recipients.

FBI Special Agent Michelle Delpha, nominated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Ophardt, for work in U.S. v. Paul Kickery, Sr., a case with connections to the District of Vermont and District of Missouri.

Det. Sgt. Erik Johnson, Brattleboro Police Dept., nominated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Ophardt, for work in U.S. v. Paul Kickery, Sr.

Special Agent Frank Italia, U.S. Department Of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General, Cambridge, MA, nominated by Civil Division Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Weathers-Lowin for work in Investigation and Settlement with J.A. McDonald Inc.

Outstanding Collaborative Investigation Award:
Award recipients have demonstrated outstanding efforts in collaboration with multiple agencies in order to meet the Justice mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Special Agent Matthew Ekstrom, ATF Burlington, VT
Special Agent Matt Fasulo, U.S. Secret Service, Portland, ME
Special Agent Tim Hoffmann, DEA Burlington, VT
DEA Task Force Officer David Madore, DEA ME (Auburn PD, Auburn, ME)
DEA Task Force Officer Daniel Merchand, DEA Burlington, VT
Detective Corporal Jamie Morris, Burlington PD, Burlington, VT
Michael Ballback, Asset Forfeiture and Seized Property Branch, ATF Boston, MA

Nominated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abigail Averbach, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Ophardt, and Paralegal Specialist Karen Arena-Leene for work in U.S. v. Sharif Cargo, et al.

U.S. Attorney Nolan stated:

We at the U.S. Attorney’s Office were so very honored today to host our First Annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony, an event at which we recognized – and will continue to recognize on a yearly basis going forward – the outstanding work of members of the Vermont justice community. Employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office proudly handed out awards to, and sang the praises of, our outstanding law enforcement and investigative partners from around Vermont, as well as individuals from Maine and Massachusetts who have contributed to the justice mission in Vermont. We are so very fortunate to live in the Green Mountain State. Vermont is widely and rightfully regarded as an extraordinarily attractive place to reside. That is due, in no small part, to the tireless efforts of law enforcement at all levels to keep us safe. Quietly and consistently, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities. They make decisions every day to stand on the front lines of our campaigns to combat violence, unlawful firearms activity, drug trafficking, and other dangerous crime. This is a tremendous daily sacrifice – on the part of officers, to be sure – but also on the part of their families and loved ones. We must never forget their heroic work and their daily sacrifice. The same praise is due to our investigative partners who represent crime victims, conduct forensic and intelligence analysis, unearth civil frauds, protect taxpayer dollars, and combat greed and misappropriation of public funds. They all have critical roles to play in the justice mission, and they and their families make extraordinary sacrifices. We in the Vermont justice community know that nothing can be accomplished without teamwork, shared strategic thinking, and pooling of resources. We will continue to collaborate closely in furtherance of the mission. We are so proud to honor our partners in justice, especially at this time – the end of National Police Week – a week in which the entire nation honors the dedication, loyalty, and commitment of police officers across the country.

Each recipient received an award letter from U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan as well as an engraved Department of Justice award commemorating their outstanding efforts. They were joined by colleagues, family, and friends at today’s ceremony.

Updated May 18, 2018

Office and Personnel Updates