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New Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Shifts Priorities
Posted By Stephanie Woodrow On December 3, 2009 @ 12:40 pm In News | Comments Disabled
Carmen Ortiz, the new U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, on Wednesday said she will step up efforts to prosecute financial fraud, the Associated Press reports .
The 53-year-old Ortiz was confirmed by the Senate Nov. 5 and sworn in three weeks ago. She replaced Michael J. Sullivan, who resigned April 19 to join the Ashcroft Group after eight years in the U.S. Attorney’s post.
Ortiz had worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston for the last 12 years, mainly prosecuting economic crimes, including embezzlement, tax evasion, investment fraud and telemarketing schemes.
During a meeting with reporters, Ortiz said her efforts to root out financial fraud — in part by reaching out to government agencies and business — will help prevent another financial situation like the one caused by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, according to the AP. “What happened with Bernie Madoff, we should make every single effort to prevent that from happening again,” Ortiz told reporters, adding, “Victims should know that we’re open for business.”
She said another priority will be catching long-sought fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, who is the alleged leader of the Winter Hill Gang, a crime family in Boston, The AP reports. He has been charged in connection with 19 murders and is on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list.
Ortiz said she plans to meet with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and hopes to come up with “creative ways” to generate publicity and aid the search for Bulger, now 80.
“If he is present in people’s minds, then perhaps it could be that one tip that … could lead to his capture,” she said.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports  that Ortiz also told reporters she plans to expand the U.S. Attorney’s office’s presence in Worcester, increasing the number of assistant U.S. Attorneys in the office from two to four. “There is a lot of business” in Central Massachusetts, Ortiz told reporters
The Worcester newspaper also reported that Ortiz did not back off the office’s commitment to continue prosecuting gun and gang violence cases even though they could also be prosecuted in state courts, where sentences are usually less severe. “Not all of those cases belong in federal court,” but “we do have an impact on the communities that are suffering due to gun and gang violence,” she said. “We make a real effort to select the cases that belong in federal court,” she said. However, with some people disagreeing, she said, the policy will be reviewed.
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