Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey’
Friday, January 14th, 2011

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) filed a notice of intent to nominate Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Gallucio and two other New Jersey area lawyers for superior court judgeships on Thursday, the Bergen County Record reported.

Gallucio is a veteran Assistant U.S. Attorney, currently working in the economic crimes unit. She served under Christie during his tenure as New Jersey U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008. Since being elected governor in 2009, Christie has tapped more than 10 former colleagues for posts within his administration.

Gallucio, a Republican, was hired as a federal prosecutor in 1988 by then-U.S. Attorney Samuel Alito, now a Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

The three lawyers will need to be formally nominated and confirmed by the state Senate. They are among a group of 39 nominations that Christie announced Thursday.

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Lou Manzo (gov)

A former New Jersey lawmaker on Monday will release information about alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the handling of a public corruption case, The Hudson Reporter of New Jersey reported Friday.

In July 2009, 44 individuals –  including 29 New Jersey elected or public officials — were arrested on charges of of public corruption and money laundering. The Associated Press reported last year that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility had opened an internal investigation into comments made by then acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra at a news conference announcing the sting case.

Former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo, who was among those arrested, said that on Monday he will hold a press conference at which he will present “evidence documenting issues of prosecution misconduct in the Bid Rig III investigation and prosecution,” according to a news release from Manzo.

Last week, Manzo told the newspaper that his evidence relates to campaign donations to then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie from attorneys working on the sting. Christie was waging what turned out to be a successful campaign for governor. According to the newspaper, the case ultimately benefited Christie’s campaign.

This post has been updated since it was first posted.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Marc Larkins speaks after Gov. Chris Christie announces his nomination. (gov)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named Marc Larkins to be the executive director of the New Jersey School Development Authority Board, according to a news release.

Larkins is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey who has held a number of positions in the office since he joined in 2003. He has served as Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, Acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Acting Executive U.S. Attorney and council. In addition, he has been the chief of the government fraud unit.

Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, Larkins was a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Division from 1999 to March 2003. Simultaneously, from February 2000 to March 2002, Larkins was Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Christie, who was U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002-2008, had already named eight of his former colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office.
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel.
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel.
  • Charles McKenna to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
  • Michele Brown to be appointments counsel.
  • Lee Solomon to be the president of the board of public utilities.
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Gov. Chris Christie (gov)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named Lee Solomon to be the president of the board of public utilities, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reports.

Solomon, who currently is a state Superior Court judge in Camden County, was a Deputy U.S. Attorney under Christie, running the prosecutor’s offices in Camden and Trenton. He previously was a Camden County Freeholder, a state assemblyman, 1992 GOP congressional candidate and Camden County prosecutor. Christie was the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2002-2008.

During the news conference at which Christie announced Solomon’s new post, the governor praised Solomon’s judgment and people skills, adding that he had sought proven managers for his cabinet because “a lot of state government has been dysfunctional,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Christie has already named seven of his former colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office.
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel.
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel.
  • Charles McKenna to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
  • Michele Brown to be appointments counsel.
Friday, January 15th, 2010

Michele Brown (McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter)

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie on Friday said he will name former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown to be appointments counsel in his administration, The Associated Press reported. Brown, who was one of Christie’s assistants when he ran the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office, resigned from her job as acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney in August amid several campaign-related controversies.

When he was U.S. Attorney, Christie took out a second mortgage on his home to loan Brown $46,000, but failed the report the information on his financial disclosures and tax returns. Brown also came under fire by the campaign of Christie’s opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine (D), for working to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request that concerned her and Christie’s travel records.

The FOIA records revealed that Christie exceeded his government lodging allowance when traveling as U.S. Attorney, often staying in luxury hotels, and that he approved Brown’s requests to stay in some of the same five-star hotels as he.

In addition, the New York Times reported that Brown assisted the Christie campaign by delaying the U.S. Attorney office’s response to the Corzine campaign’s FOIA requests. As a result, then-interim U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra came under pressure from unnamed Justice Department officials to remove Brown from collecting records for the campaign’s request, the Times reported.

Brown resigned shortly thereafter to take a job at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.

Christie has already named six of his former colleagues from his U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office,
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office,
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office,
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel,
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel and
  • Charles McKenna, to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Friday, January 8th, 2010

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie (R) today announced that he will name he will name several more staffers from his U.S. Attorney’s office to his cabinet, NewJerseyNewsroom.com reports.

Robert Hanna (Gibbons P.C.)

Christie has tapped Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office. Hanna, the director of the Newark, N.J. law-firm, Gibbons PC, previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 16 years.

Stephen Taylor (Taylor, Colicchio & Silverman, LLP)

In addition, Stephen Taylor will be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office. Taylor, who has worked in the Essex County prosecutor’s office, also has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, N.J. He has served as chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and as chief of the Terrorism Unit.

Deborah Gramiccioni (gov)

The governor-elect also has selected Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.  Gramiccioni, who is the outgoing state Criminal Justice director, previously was the assistant chief of the fraud section in the criminal division and chief of the Commercial Crimes United in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, N.J.

Christie has already tapped three of his former subordinates from the U.S. Attorney’s office for his administration – Jeffrey S. Chiesa, who will be Christie’s chief counsel; Kevin M. O’Dowd, who will be deputy chief counsel; and Charles McKenna, who will head the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
(Lonnie Tague/DOJ)

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West (Photo by Lonnie Tague/DOJ)

In the third False Claims Act settlement announced this week, three New York home health care companies have agreed to pay $24 million to resolve allegations they billed the government for unqualified aides and services that were never performed, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The government alleged that one of the companies, Nursing Personnel Home Care, provided two other companies with caregivers who had phony training certificates.

The companies, Extended Home Care and Excellent Home Care, knew the certificates were fake but billed the New York Medicaid program for their services, according to the Justice Department. Extended and Excellent were also accused of billing Medicare for services that the caregivers never rendered.

“Our nation’s Medicare and Medicaid patients deserve nothing less than quality health care they can depend on,” Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, said in a statement. “When home health agencies cut corners to avoid compliance with legal training standards, they seriously undermine the integrity of the care they provide.”

The federal government will receive about $9.7 million and about $14.3 million will go to the state of New York. The settlements stemmed from whistleblower suits filed by Maurice Keshner, who will receive $251,107 from the government’s recovery from Nursing Personnel, and Deborah Yannicelli, who will receive  about $1.7 million from the government’s recovery from Extended and Excellent.

The settlement comes two days after the department announced that the University of Phoenix would pay $67.5 million to settle a whistleblower suit brought by two former employees who accused the school of failing to abide by certain recruitment provisions.

Whistleblowers Mary Hendow and Julie Behn filed suit in the Eastern District of California accusing the school of accepting federal student financial aid while violating regulations and laws that prohibit colleges from paying admissions counselors some forms of incentive pay based on the number of students they recruit.

The federal government did not intervene in the case but provided support to the two whistleblowers, who will receive $19 million in the settlement. The U.S. Department of Education assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California with the case. The case marks the second-largest settlement for a FCA suit in which the government did not intervene, the Arizona Republic reported.

Also on Tuesday, the department announced that Our Lady of Lourdes Health Care Services Inc., the parent company of two New Jersey hospitals, agreed to pay about $8 million to resolve allegations that the hospitals defrauded Medicare.

In cases in which health care costs are unusually high, Medicare offers additional reimbursements, called “outlier payments.” The lawsuit, initiated by whistleblower Tony Kite, alleged that the hospital inflated its charges to obtain “outlier payments” for cases that didn’t warrant them.

Kite will receive $356,000, plus interest.

In total, the federal government recovered about $85 million through FCA settlements announced this week, but we’re including the $14.3 million recovered by New York state because it was the product of a joint investigation. The Justice Department recovered $2.4 billion in settlements and judgments from False Claims Act cases in fiscal 2009, the second largest haul since the statute was reformed more than 20 years ago to make it easier for private citizens to sue on the government’s behalf.

Friday, October 30th, 2009
Gov. Jon Corzine

Gov. Jon Corzine

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) during a Thursday interview with The New York Times said he regrets having supported Chris Christie’s nomination for U.S. Attorney, saying he believed the former prosecutor politicized the position and used it as a launching pad for his political career. “New information, new conclusion,” Corzine told the NYT.

In a separate interview with the newspaper on Thursday, Christie was asked to name three things Corzine had done right. The governor “struggled for several moments” with the answer, The Times reports. “Let me think. Um … I would probably say I think over all his prosecutorial appointments have been good.”

Chris Christie (Christie for Governor)

Chris Christie (Christie for Governor)

Neither candidate apologized for the personal attacks on their opponent during the campaign, The Times reports. Polls have the two candidates virtually tied for the Nov. 3 election.

In related news, Christie during a Thursday interview on the Don Imus’s radio show said Corzine should “man up and say I’m fat.” Corzine produced an ad claiming Christie “threw his weight around” as a prosecutor. When asked by Imus how much he weighs, Christie replied, “550 pounds,” a response which got a lot of laughs from the Imus team. He added, “I’m going to be a big fat winner” on Election Day.

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Eric Holder (DOJ)

Eric Holder (DOJ)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced nine appointees to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.

In August, Holder tapped Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones to chair the committee, an influential policy-making and advisory body that serves as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys at Main Justice.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, of Illinois’ Northern District, served as interim chairman before Jones was confirmed. Chicago’s top prosecutor, a Republican appointee who has been recommended for a second tour of duty, will remain on the committee.

The nine new members are listed below. Click on their names for a summary of their Senate questionnaires.

  • Preet Bharara, of the Southern District of New York
  • Dennis Burke, of Arizona
  • Jenny Durkan, of the Western District of Washington
  • Paul Fishman, of New Jersey
  • Neil MacBride, of the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Peter Neronha, of Rhode Island
  • Joyce Vance, of the Northern District of Alabama
  • Channing Phillips, acting U.S attorney in the District of Columbia
  • John Davis, chief of the criminal division of the federal prosecutors’ office in Alexandria, will represent the views of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

They will each serve two-year terms.

The Senate so far has confirmed 18 of 93 U.S. Attorneys. One nominee is waiting for approval by the full Senate, and 11 more await a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Holder, in a statement, said he would rely heavily on the the AGAC as the department works to curb violent crime and gang violence, promote civil rights, police the marketplace and protect national security.

The AGAC’s other members, who were appointed during the Bush administration, include U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, of  Middle District of Alabama; Rod Rosenstein, of Maryland; Brett Tolman, of Utah; and Gretchen Witt, the civil chief in the District of New Hampshire.

Regulations require only that the committee have an “appropriate” number of members.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Paul Fishman (fksa)

Paul Fishman (fksa)

Paul Fishman took the helm of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey Wednesday, capping a long nomination process that unfolded against the backdrop of a bitter gubernatorial race and a massive corruption sting.

Fishman’s swearing in followed on the heels of the investiture of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who took office in August. Attorney General Eric Holder attended the event, which was held Tuesday afternoon in the ceremonial courtroom at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse.

Fishman, too, made the trip to New York for Bharara’s ceremony. Others in attendance included former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, Assistant Attorney General Tony West and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Kathy Ruemmler.

Preet Bharara (DOJ)

Preet Bharara (DOJ)

Fishman was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Joseph Greenway Jr., a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, just after 11 a.m. He began work immediately, according to this news release. Fishman, 52, took his oath in a conference room in the Newark office. On hand were his wife, two sons and mother, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys and staff.

President Barack Obama nominated Fishman on May 15 and the Senate confirmed him on Oct. 7. He replaced Ralph Marra Jr., a career prosecutor who had served in an acting capacity since Republican Chris Christie stepped down to run for governor.

“This is a tremendous honor and privilege,” said Fishman, according to the release. “For me, I am returning to an office I once served where I expect to build on its traditions of excellence, fairness and integrity in enforcing federal criminal and civil statutes.”

The New Jersey office has figured prominently into the gubernatorial race between Christie and Gov. Jon Corzine (D). The July sting, which netted more than 40 defendants, was large even by the Garden State’s standards. Corzine and Christie both have tried to use the investigation to display their anti-corruption bona fides.

The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility is examining whether Marra, who remains the office’s First Assistant U.S. Attorney, acted improperly at a news conference announcing the arrests, The Associated Press has reported. The Corzine camp construed his remarks as a slap at the ethical record of the Democratic incumbent.

Fishman (Princeton University, Harvard Law) was recently a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, where he specialized in white-collar criminal matters, corporate investigations and complex civil litigation. (For more bio, click here.)