The Federal District Court Criminal Division takes on the task of overseeing some of the most complex and wide-ranging criminal cases brought to federal court. Here is an overview of the Criminal Division units:
Terrorism and International Narcotics
The Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit’s role is to investigate and prosecute transactional acts of terrorism, narco-terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and money laundering which threaten U.S national security. The unit was created in 2009 by the merging of the Terrorism and National Security and the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. The Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit works closely with Office’s local, state, national, and international law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, and NYPD.
Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force
The Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force’s job is to investigate and prosecute crimes that relate to the operation of the securities and commodities markets within the United States. This includes the all varieties of securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation schemes, accounting, and regulatory reporting frauds, and penny stock “pump and dump” schemes. This Task Force works closely with the Securities Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FBI to uncover and expose financial frauds.
Complex Frauds and Cybercrime
The Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit works to oversee the investigation and prosecution of complex fraud cases that involve financial institution fraud, mortgage fraud, health care fraud, and tax fraud, as well as cybercrimes. Much like the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit was created in 2009 and applies a tighter focus and additional resources on addressing the threat that complex fraud schemes and cybercrimes pose to the U.S economy and the financial well being of local communities. This unit works in close coordination with the Civil Division’s Civil Frauds Unit and the Criminal Division's Money Launder and Asset Forfeiture Unit.
The Public Corruption Unit works closely with the FBI and other federal, state, and city investigative agencies to ensure the maintenance and protection of the integrity of all levels of government. The Public Corruption Unit works closely with the FBI and other federal state and city investigative agencies to maintain and protect the integrity if all levels of government. The Unit aims to investigate and prosecute the corruption of crimes committed by elected and appointed officials, government employees, and individuals and companies doing business with the city, state, and the federal government. The Public Corruption Unit investigates crimes involving bribery, embezzlement, and frauds committed against local, state, and federal government agencies.
Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture
The Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit handles all criminal and civil forfeiture actions for the Office and focuses on investigating and prosecuting money laundering offenses. This Unit handles cases involving money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act violations, economic sanctions violations, economic crimes, cybercrimes, national security and sanctions violations, healthcare fraud, international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and public corruption. This unit has been responsible for four out of five of the largest forfeitures in the country’s history with more than $13.92 billion in crime proceeds since 2006. The unit has also pioneered the use of federal forfeiture laws to recover and return stolen art and cultural heritage property.
Violent and Organized Crime
The Violent and Organized Crime Unit seeks to disrupt and disassemble the most violent and destructive criminal organizations both domestically and internationally. Throughout recent years, this unit has investigated and successfully prosecuted countless leaders and members of notorious groups and enterprises, including violent gangs and eastern European criminal enterprises, and Asian organized crime. This unit takes an active role in aggressively pursuing uses of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and large-scale narcotics sweeps, using undercovers, wiretaps, and cooperating witnesses, to charge make cases that have had a tangible impact in making communities and neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Bronx, and upstate New York safer and freer from gang and gun violence. This unit also investigates and prosecutes unsolved and cold cases involving homicides, labor union corruption, and other racketeering offenses with criminal groups often engage.
The Narcotics unit is dedicated to prosecution cases involving narcotics at the local, regional, and international levels. The Narcotics unit works with a variety of federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA, the FBI, ICE, and local law enforcement agencies such the NYPD and the New York State Police. The Narcotics Unit works to prosecute drug dealers who traffic in cocaine and other controlled substances as well as those who involve themselves in the illegal diversion and distribution of prescription drugs such as painkillers.
General Crimes acts as a training grounds of sorts for all new Assistant U.S Attorneys. New Assistant U.S Attorneys are assigned to the General Crimes unit first, where they will be introduced to the various aspects of criminal prosecution. With this unit, U.S Assistant will learn how to conduct investigations, bring criminals to trial and handle appeals for criminal cases. Assistant U.S Attorneys will also handle cases referred to the Office by virtually every law enforcement agency within the district that come in on a day-to-day basis. Once the Assistant gets his or her “footing”, they will then be assigned to other senior units within the Office where larger and more complex cases are handled.
The Criminal Appeals Unit provides support to the Office by ensuring that submissions to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit are of the highest quality. The Appeals Unit aids with writing briefs and motions, and helps to prepare Criminal Division Assistants for oral arguments before the Second Circuit. This unit also helps by providing guidance on legal issues that arise through the various phases of criminal prosecutions, provides advice and counsel to the Office for developments in criminal law, and assists in the formulation of Office policies that address the enforcement of such laws.
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