Attorney General Mukasey Recognizes Department Employees and Others for Their Service at Annual Awards Ceremony

WASHINGTON , Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey recognized 250 Department employees for their distinguished public service today at the 56th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony. Twenty-two other individuals...

An additional Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was awarded to John R. Osterday , Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Finance, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), for financial management excellence. Under his leadership, the DEA had no material weaknesses on the financial statements for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Another Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was presented to Jason P. Salerno , Special Agent, ATF Madison, Wisc ., Office. On a voluntary detail in the Iraq , Special Agent Salerno helped to relieve the suffering of children and brought hope and humanity to more than a few young lives. With his own life at constant risk, Salerno brought medical care, supplies and assistance to several Iraqi children who were physically deformed as a result of mortar fire from insurgents.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory W. Staples , Deirdre Z. Eliot , Craig H. Missakian and Douglas F. McCormick from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California ; from the FBI Los Angeles Division, Matthew S. Moon , Supervisory Special Agent; Eric Velez-Villar , Special Agent in Charge; James E. Gaylord and Rolando A. Tostado , Special Agents; from the FBI Sacramento Division, Sheldon Fung , Special Agent; and from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Gunnar Newquist , Supervisory Special Agent and Omar Lopez , Special Agent, were presented with the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service for outstanding performance in the investigation and prosecution of two critical national security cases: Chi Mak and JIS. In each case, the federal agents demonstrated a singular focus on bringing to justice those who would threaten our nation's security through espionage or acts of terror. These investigations and prosecutions greatly furthered the interests of U.S. national security and protected citizens and the infrastructure from international and domestic threats.

Another Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was awarded to, from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California , Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark A. Young , Peter A. Hernandez , David P. Kowal and Michael S. Lowe ; Sareta Magee Taylor , Paralegal Specialist; from the Los Angeles Police Department, Daniel T. Jenks , Detective Sergeant; and David M. Torres , Detective; and from the Criminal Investigation Division, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Wilfred Castro , Special Agent, for outstanding performance in the investigation, prosecution and dismantling of the Vineland Boys street gang. Their efforts resulted in the elimination of a violent gang's leadership, many of whom are now serving mandatory life sentences for the murder of a police officer and prosecution witness. The investigation and prosecution of this violent gang became a template for future joint federal and local investigations.

The Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service was also awarded to employees from the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Deputy Chief J. Kirk Ogrosky ; Trial Attorneys John S. Darden and Harold B. Walther ; and Senior Program Analyst Steven G. Shandy ; from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida , Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Katz ; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew I. Menchel ; and Nurse Investigator Edith M. Sposato ; from the FBI Miami Division, Supervisory Special Agents Randall C. Culp and Timothy P. Donovan ; Special Agents Susan E. Devereaux , Scott P. Neville , Shaun P. O'Neil and Brian Waterman ; and from the Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bernardo Rodriguez ; Special Agents Manuel Hernandez , Julie Rivera and Ariel Rodriguez . The team received the award for their tireless efforts to fight and deter Medicare fraud. During a seven-month period from March through October of 2007, the team indicted 74 cases and 120 defendants. Their efforts contributed to a drop in Medicare Part B billing of $1.4 billion when compared to the prior year. The tireless work, innovation and initiative of these award recipients to fight Medicare fraud exemplify the Department's commitment to fraud prevention.