US Attorney District of CT Vanessa Roberts Avery Announces Supervisory Appointments

United States Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery announced on Thursday several supervisory appointments within the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“I am fortunate to lead an office with a long roster of extremely talented individuals who are committed to the cause of justice,” U.S. Attorney Avery said in a release. “The high level of collaboration and teamwork that our attorneys and staff exemplify carries over to our partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as other community leaders.  I am confident that our office will continue to make Connecticut a safer place to live, and have a tremendous impact in our communities.”

Marc H. Silverman has been named Chief of the Criminal Division.  Mr. Silverman joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2010 and, since 2014, has served as Deputy Chief of the Office’s Appellate Division.  Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Silverman was an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow at Advocates for Children of New York, Inc.; an associate at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC; and a law clerk for Judge Kimba M. Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Dennis Jacobs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Mr. Silverman is a 2003 graduate of Yale University and a 2006 graduate of Yale Law School. 

The Criminal Division, which is responsible for enforcing federal criminal laws, comprises four program-based units:  Violent Crimes and Narcotics, Financial Fraud and Public Corruption, National Security and Cybercrime, and Major Crimes.

U.S. Attorney Avery has appointed Jocelyn Kaoutzanis as Chief of the Violent Crimes and Narcotics Unit (VCN), which includes Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) prosecutions, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and violent crime, gangs and narcotics investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pierpont, Jr., continues in his role as Deputy Chief of the unit and as PSN Coordinator, overseeing firearms prosecutions that seek to deter the illegal possession of guns and reduce gun and gang violence.  Brian Leaming has been named as a Deputy Chief of the Unit, and will serve as OCDETF Coordinator, which targets major drug trafficking operations responsible for the distribution of large quantities of narcotics by major drug trafficking organizations.

The Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit is responsible for investigating matters involving securities and investor fraud, public corruption, bank fraud and embezzlement, mortgage fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, bankruptcy fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.  David Novick continues to serve as Chief of the unit, and Christopher Schmeisser remains as Deputy Chief.

Peter Jongbloed continues as Chief of National Security and Cybercrime Unit, which is responsible for prosecuting matters involving international and domestic terrorism, customs enforcement and identity theft, and sophisticated cybercrimes. 

The Major Crimes Unit is responsible for prosecuting matters including civil rights and hate crimes, immigration, human trafficking and child exploitation, government program fraud, and environmental crimes.  Nancy Gifford has been named Chief of the Unit and Neeraj Patel is the Deputy Chief.

Michelle McConaghy serves as Chief of the Civil Division, which handles a wide variety of cases in which the United States or its employees are plaintiffs or defendants.  David Nelson serves as the Deputy Chief of the Civil Division.

The Civil Division’s Defensive Unit, which is headed by John Larson, defends claims filed against the U.S., including tort, medical malpractice, employment discrimination, immigration and foreclosures. The unit also defends claims brought against individual federal employees (Bivens claims). 

The Civil Division’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement and Civil Rights Unit, which is headed by Richard Molot, pursues claims on behalf of the U.S. in cases involving health care fraud, defense contractor fraud, drug diversion, forfeitures and environmental violations.  In addition, the unit maintains a Civil Rights enforcement program, which brings civil rights actions to enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin and to recover damages for victims of civil rights violations.

The Civil Division also has a Financial Litigation Unit, headed by Christine Sciarrino, which is responsible for collecting debts owed to the United States.

The District of Connecticut’s Appellate Division will continue to be led by long-time Chief Sandra Glover.  The Appellate Division supervises all appeals arising out of the Criminal and Civil Divisions.  The Division assists with writing briefs and motions and preparing assistants for oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The Division also coordinates the approval process for government appeals, provides guidance on legal issues arising in criminal and civil cases, advises the Office of developments in the law, and assists in the formulation of Office policies that address the enforcement of that law.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen will serve in the newly-created role of Director of Community Engagement and will coordinate all of the Office’s community engagement efforts around the state.

Alfred Pavlis serves as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney and Susan Wines continues in her role as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney.

The District is composed of approximately 68 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and approximately 57 staff members at offices in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.

See also: Vanessa Avery Sworn in as US Attorney for District of CT May 9, 2022