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Press Release

United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy Western District Of Virginia

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy To Step Down

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that he will step down as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia at the end of 2014, after serving more than five years in office. Mr. Heaphy has informed President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder of his decision.  After leaving office, Mr. Heaphy will become Chair of the White Collar Defense and Government Investigations practice at an international law firm based in Richmond, VA.  First Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Giorno will become Acting United States Attorney on January 1, 2015.

“Serving as United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career,” United States Attorney Heaphy said today.  “I am grateful for the trust placed in me by President Obama and appreciate the opportunity I have had to work with Attorney General Holder and the other dedicated professionals across the Department of Justice.  I leave inspired by the ongoing commitment to justice displayed every day by the lawyers and staff in the Western District, who work hard to protect the safety of communities across the Commonwealth.  I am proud of their success and confident that it will continue.”

“Over the past five years, Tim Heaphy has been an outstanding United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia and a key national leader on a host of pressing criminal justice issues,” United States Attorney General Eric Holder said today. “Throughout his distinguished career -- from our days together in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, to his current post -- I have known Tim as a dedicated public servant and a champion of the cause of justice. He has been a fierce advocate for groundbreaking community outreach initiatives within and far beyond his district. And he has worked tirelessly to promote data-driven prevention, intervention, and reentry programs to improve public safety at the national level. As a talented attorney, a dedicated prosecutor, and a leader of both patriotism and principle, Tim Heaphy has been an indispensable member of the U.S. Department of Justice. From the prosecutions he has led to the policies he has championed, Tim's work has touched countless lives across Virginia and throughout the nation. I have been proud to count him as a friend. On behalf of our colleagues and the American people, I thank him for his service and wish him all the best in every future endeavor.”

On October 13, 2009, Mr. Heaphy, a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University Of Virginia School Of Law, was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.   He was sworn in by then Chief United States District Judge James Jones in Abingdon, VA on October 16, 2009, and has served continuously since that date.  Attorney General Holder attended his ceremonial Investiture as United States Attorney on December 4, 2009, in Charlottesville, VA.

During his tenure as United States Attorney, Mr. Heaphy served for 2 years on Attorney General Holder’s Advisory Committee (“AGAC”), a group that advises the Attorney General on emerging policy issues.  Mr. Heaphy has also served as Chairman of the AGAC’s Subcommittee on Law Enforcement Coordination, Victims Issues, and Community Outreach, and he has been a member of the Subcommittees on Criminal Practice, Violent and Organized Crime, and Civil Rights.  Through his work with the AGAC, Mr. Heaphy helped conceive and implement Attorney General Holder’s anti-violence strategy and, most recently, the Department’s “Smart on Crime” initiative.   Mr. Heaphy testified three times before the Congressional committees on issues ranging from guns to synthetic drugs to sentencing reform. 

“My time on AGAC gave me a unique opportunity to contribute to the discussion of important policy issues faced by Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice,” United States Attorney Heaphy observed.  “I was privileged to have a voice in the creation of the Smart on Crime initiative, and I have been pleased to subsequently work to implement the components of that strategy in our District.  I believe these and other initiatives on which the AGAC has worked have made the Department more effective, and that these reforms will last well beyond my time as United States Attorney.” 

Under Mr. Heaphy’s leadership, the Western District of Virginia has achieved notable success in numerous criminal cases and complex civil matters.  The office has protected national security, defended the civil rights of all Virginians, held corrupt public officials accountable, and prosecuted financial fraud in various forms.  AUSAs have aggressively pursued crimes of violence, taken gang members and other violent criminals off our streets, and protected children from exploitation.  During his tenure, the office has vigorously pursued health care and other program fraud and obtained civil settlements which recovered millions of dollars for crime victims.  The rich diversity of the Western District presents a range of public safety challenges, which has required flexibility and judgment in the deployment of enforcement resources.

While serving as United States Attorney, Mr. Heaphy personally investigated and tried numerous criminal cases.  He reopened a cold case homicide in Orange, Virginia, and convicted the charged defendant at trial.  He identified a long-running pattern of fraud committed by a financial advisor against a celebrity client, then negotiated a guilty plea which resulted in a jail sentence and restitution obligation of over $1 million.  He supervised the investigation of a lucrative online business in which the defendants manufactured high-quality false identification documents, which also resulted in lengthy jail sentences and forfeiture of millions of dollars.  Most recently, he has led the investigation of the murder of a Waynesboro, VA reserve police officer, which has led to the pending indictment of 9 members of a regional set of the Bloods gang responsible for that murder and numerous other violent crimes.

In addition to his supervision of the office’s varied and important litigation, Mr. Heaphy was also responsible for integrating community outreach and crime prevention initiatives into the daily work of this United States Attorney’s Office.  He worked to augment the office’s core enforcement work with support for viable prevention programs.  Under his leadership, the office helped establish and grow reentry and treatment courts and prevention programs for youth.  He has also convened several statewide summits and helped increase awareness of emerging criminal justice challenges.  His comprehensive vision of community safety has guided the work of AUSAs and staff and will endure long past his departure.

“To achieve true community safety, we must do much more than arrest and incarcerate,” United States Attorney Heaphy said today.  “To be effective, we must supplement our core enforcement work with support for prevention and reentry programs.  True community safety is a “three-legged stool,” which must be built upon targeted enforcement, effective prevention, and viable reentry, all working contemporaneously.”

Updated April 14, 2015