Each year, NAFUSA recognizes an Assistant U.S. Attorney for outstanding performance through the J. Michael Bradford Memorial Award. The award is named after J. Michael Bradford, who served as a U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Texas from 1994 to 2001. Bradford, who died in 2003, had a distinguished career in public service, including successfully defending the government against lawsuits stemming from the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian’s compound in Waco, Texas. NAFUSA annually solicits nominations from current U.S. Attorneys for the Bradford Award. Typically, the recipient has handled a significant investigation and prosecution or series of prosecutions that has had a significant impact and merits special recognition.
Once again, a number of exceptional nominations were made by U.S. Attorneys around the country. The Michael Bradford Award Committee was chaired by NAFUSA Vice President Doug Jones. Its members included Karen Hewitt, Hal Hardin, Richard Roper, and Neil MacBride. This year, the Board voted to give the award to AUSA Adam L. Braverman of the Southern District of California, who was nominated by United States Attorney Laura Duffy, who wrote: “AUSA Braverman has become a nationally recognized expert in developing creative methods to investigate and prosecute the highest levels of the Sinaloa Cartel.” Braverman will be honored at the San Diego conference.
The other nominees were:
George S. Cardona, CD of CA
AUSA Cardona was the lead AUSA in the FIRREA litigation against Standard & Poor’s rating Services for fraudulently inflating ratings of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities and Collaterallized Debt Obligations resulting in a $1.375 billion settlement.
Grant Rabenn, ED of CA
AUSA Rabenn has led the Central California Financial Crimes Task Force. In that role he developed an innovative approach to analyzing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to develop criminal investigations with particular emphasis on public corruption, money laundering and drug offense. He successfully prosecuted a number of significant cases, including one involving an FBI supervisory agent, using the SARs analysis.
Lois A. Foster-Sterrs, SD of FL
AUSA Foster-Steers prosecuted some the district’s most important fraud cases included five individuals in an $8,000,000 mortgage fraud scheme that targeted the Haitian-American community and the president and CFO of a south Florida company that defrauded investors of $60-$70 million for their personal use.
Mary Jane Stewart and Bill Toliver, ND of GA
AUSAs Stewart and Toliver were nominated for their efforts in implementing and improving the training program for new AUSAs and SAUSAs. All new AUSAs written work is reviewed and their court appearances personally supervised. They provided weekly lectures on various topics by experienced AUSAs and guest experts as well as weekly discussion groups designed to encourage AUSAs to share experiences that benefit the entire office.
Randall E. Kromm, District of MA
AUSA Kromm was nominated for his outstanding work and success in numerous appellate cases including among others the conviction and life sentence for James “Whitey” Bulger, the conviction of an individual for the arson of a predominantly African-American church in Springfield and the appeal brought by a news reporter of the district court’s erroneous sealing of a number of materials at the request of defense counsel.
Matthew R. Molten, District of Nebraska
AUSA Molten was nominated for his efforts in coordinating the investigation and RICO prosecution of two groups of Crisp gang members in Omaha, including defendants who the Omaha Police Department has described as the “who’s who” of violent gang members in Omaha. This investigation and prosecution is ongoing.
Louis E. Valencia, District of New Mexico
AUSA Valencia was nominated for his extensive contributions to the USAO in New Mexico including the extradition and 2015 conviction of Francisco Melgar-Cabrerra, his brother Jose and two other Salvadoran nationals on charges of armed robbery, Hobbs Act and felony murder. The case represented the first time that Salvadoran nationals were successfully extradited to the United States.
Doug Squires, SD of Ohio
AUSA Squires has been the lead public corruption AUSA in the SD of Ohio since 2009. In 2015 he successfully prosecuted a charter school kickback scheme in which the school superintendent and board members bilked taxpayers out of ore than $500,000 disguise as consulting fees. He also orchestrated the first successful extradition of a defendant, a former Ohio Deputy Treasurer, from Pakistan, which resulted in the defendant’s conviction on bribery charges.
Ernest Gonzalez, EDof TX
Beginning in 2010 AUSA and a team of federal, state and local law enforcement agents targeted Dallas area Los Zetas Cartel distributor Jose Vasquez and in his network. The investigation ultimately resulted in 28 indictments of 157 individuals that dismantled a drug organization that had been responsible for annually importing over 60 tons of cocaine into the U.S.
Michael Collyer, ND of Ohio
AUSA Collyer is the healthcare fraud coordinator and Deputy Chief of the Major Fraud and Corruption unit in the ND of Ohio. Last year he successfully prosecuted Dr. Harold Persuade, a renowned cardiologist, for performing medically unnecessary catheterizations, tests and stent insertions as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and other insurers of nearly $6M. He also secured on appeal the conviction of a violent drug dealer for the arson murder of eight children and one adult at a sleepover birthday party in 2005.
Bill Campbell, WD of KY
AUSA Campbell was nominated for his efforts in successfully completing a False claims Act case filed in 1999 against Lockheed Martin for failing to identify and report hazardous waste produced and stored at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and that it failed to properly handle and dispose of the waste. After 17 years of hard fought litigation Lockheed agreed to pay $5M to resolve the case.
James McGovern, ED of NY
AUSA McGovern served in the ED of NY for 11 years after serving 5 years in the District of Columbia office, repeatedly distinguishing himself prosecuting high profile hedge fund managers for securities fraud and insider trading while also prosecuting crimes of violence. He served the ED of NY by supervising the Business and Securities Fraud Section before finishing his career as Chief of the Criminal Division. He was described by US Attorney Robert Capers as representing “the very best of the Department of Justice” and a “model of intelligence, professionalism and fairness.”