Former DOJ Attorney Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Obstruction Of Justice And Interstate Transportation Of Stolen Property

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 @ 3:17PM

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CFEG reports that on March 17, 2018, a former Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney was sentenced to 30 months in prison for obstruction of justice and transportation of stolen property.

According to the Department of Justice announcement the former DOJ attorney abused his position for personal gain and violated the nation’s trust.

According to his plea agreement, the former DOJ attorney worked for the Civil Fraud Section of the Department of Justice from October 24, 2010, until April 12, 2016.  During that time, he worked on qui tam actions pursuant to which the government investigated companies suspected of breaking the law.  Federal courts often order qui tam complaints “sealed” and therefore kept from public view until it is appropriate for the complaints to become public.  In his plea agreement, the former DOJ attorney admitted that during the last month of his employment as a trial attorney with the Department of Justice, he began secretly reviewing and collecting sealed qui tam complaints that were not assigned to him.  He further admitted that after he left the Department of Justice, he used the stolen information improperly to solicit clients that were the subject of the sealed complaints.

The former DOJ attorney acknowledged that in one instance, he was successful in using the information from a sealed complaint to convince a company that it was the subject of a lawsuit and to retain him as an attorney to represent it in the lawsuit.  He also acknowledged he lied to the Department of Justice in documents he completed during his exit process regarding whether he stole the complaints.

The plea agreement also describes two occasions in which this former DOJ attorney attempted to sell information to companies that were the subject of government investigations.  On November 30, 2016, he offered to sell a complaint to the corporation named in the lawsuit.  Then, between November 30, 2016, and January 31, 2017, he engaged in multiple conversations with a representative of the corporation to negotiate the sale of the sealed complaint for $310,000.   Similarly, on January 23, 2017, he contacted a second corporation and offered to mail to the representative a copy of the face sheet of the complaint.  He actually mailed a redacted copy of the face sheet and promised that, for a fee, he would provide the entire complaint.

The former DOJ attorney was arrested on January 31, 2017, after traveling from the Washington, D.C. area to the San Francisco Bay area with a copy of a sealed complaint.  On that day, he believed he was meeting at a hotel with a representative from a company and that he was exchanging the complaint for a duffel bag filled with $310,000.  In fact, he was meeting with an undercover employee of the FBI.  The former DOJ attorney described the meeting in his sentencing memorandum, “As part of his escapist fantasy, he donned a wig and sunglasses and went to a hotel in Sunnyvale with complaint in hand, whereupon he was arrested by the FBI.”

The former DOJ attorney admitted that after his arrest, he took steps in an effort to obstruct the ongoing criminal investigation.  Specifically, after being released from custody, he returned to his office, purportedly to retrieve his personal belongings, and removed and destroyed documents from his office that he knew could further incriminate him.  He also acknowledged that he “placed two complaints in a used FedEx envelope in an attempt to make it appear that sealed complaints had been accidentally mailed to him by a DOJ employee.” The former DOJ attorney acknowledged he took these and other steps in an effort to corruptly obstruct the ongoing investigation and proceedings against him.

On November 1, 2017, the former DOJ attorney was charged by information with two counts of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1505, and one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314.  Pursuant to his plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to all counts.

When Department of Justice attorneys engage in criminal conduct such as obstruction of justice and interstate transportation of stolen goods, the U.S. Department of Justice fails to enforce the laws with integrity and fairness to all.

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Categories: Criminal Behavior and Misconduct Within the Department of Justice and FBI

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