October 21, 2021

News

News Network

Attorney General William P. Barr Announces the Appointment of Gregg N. Sofer as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas

18 min read

Attorney General William P. Barr announced today the appointment of Gregg N. Sofer as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 546, effective Oct. 10, 2020.

As U.S. Attorney, Sofer will be the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Western District of Texas.  He will be in charge of one of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the United States, overseeing approximately 300 total staff, including 150 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and covering 93,000 square miles in 68 counties, with divisional offices in Alpine, Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, San Antonio, and Waco.  The Western District of Texas regularly prosecutes more criminal cases than any other district in the United States and serves approximately 6.5 million Texans.

“I am pleased to appoint Gregg N. Sofer as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “He has served as an exceptional prosecutor for more than 29 years, devoting himself to the pursuit of justice and the protection of the citizens of this country.  His leadership, integrity, and experience will greatly benefit the people of the Western District.” 

“I am thrilled to be able to serve the people of my home state as the United States Attorney.  I look forward to working with our state, local and federal law enforcement partners, for whom I have the utmost respect, as we continue to protect our communities and ensure that the rights of all of our citizens are safeguarded,” said Gregg N. Sofer.  “I thank John F. Bash for his incredible leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office over the last three years.  John is one of the finest lawyers I have ever met and I wish him the very best in the next chapter of his career.”  

Prior to his appointment, Sofer served as Counselor to the Attorney General of the United States, where he handled criminal and national security matters, as well as crisis response.  Before coming to Main Justice, Sofer served for 12 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.  As an Assistant U.S. Attorney and accomplished litigator, he handled national security, fraud, violent crime, and corruption cases, among others.  In 2018, Sofer was promoted to Chief of the Criminal Division.  In that role, he was responsible for the supervision of over 120 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all aspects of the district’s criminal practice.  His last trial in Austin, Texas, a RICO prosecution, resulted in a life sentence without parole for a man who attempted to assassinate a state court judge as she sat in her car with her family.

From 2003 to 2007, Sofer was a trial attorney in the National Security Division at Main Justice where he led the investigation and prosecution of international terrorism cases.  He also served as the Director of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism and Director of the National Gang Targeting Enforcement and Coordination Center.

Sofer started his legal career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.  Among a wide variety of cases, he prosecuted violent gang, murder and firearms trafficking cases for over 11 years, distinguishing himself as a skilled trial lawyer, indefatigable investigator, and fierce advocate for justice.  Sofer earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. from Rutgers University.

News Network

  • Physician Pleads Guilty in Medicaid Fraud Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    A California man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
    [Read More…]
  • Terrorist Attacks in Niger
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Sues To Block Geisinger Health’s Transaction With Evangelical Community Hospital
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Department of Justice sued today to block Geisinger Health’s partial acquisition of its close rival, Evangelical Community Hospital. The complaint alleges that the agreement fundamentally alters the relationship between the parties, raising the likelihood of coordination and reducing Defendants’ incentives to compete aggressively against each other. As a result, the transaction is likely to lead to higher prices, lower quality, and reduced access to high-quality inpatient hospital services for patients in central Pennsylvania. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
    [Read More…]
  • Three Tribal Officials Charged in Bribery Scheme
    In Crime News
    Two current tribal government officials and one former tribal government official of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) were charged by criminal complaint unsealed today for their alleged acceptance of bribes and kickbacks from a contractor providing construction services on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (FBIR), which is the home of the MHA Nation.
    [Read More…]
  • 8 Martian Postcards to Celebrate Curiosity’s Landing Anniversary
    In Space
    The NASA rover touched [Read More…]
  • Humanitarian and Development Assistance: Project Evaluations and Better Information Sharing Needed to Manage the Military’s Efforts
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe Department of Defense’s (DOD) management of its key humanitarian assistance programs reflects both positive practices and weaknesses:Alignment with strategic goals. DOD aligns its humanitarian assistance project planning with the goals outlined in U.S. and departmental strategies, and has clearly established processes for implementing its projects.Interagency project coordination. DOD has taken steps to coordinate with the Department of State (State) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on projects, such as seeking concurrence on project proposals and embedding representatives from their agencies at its combatant commands, but coordination challenges remain.Poor data management. DOD does not have complete information on the status or actual costs of the full range of its Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) projects. In addition, Humanitarian and Civic Assistance project data in DOD’s database differ from what DOD reports to Congress.Limited program evaluations. From fiscal years 2005 through 2009, DOD had not completed 90 percent of the required 1-year post-project evaluations for its OHDACA projects, and about half of the required 30-day evaluations for those projects, and thus lacks information to determine projects’ effects.Limited program guidance. DOD’s primary guidance for the OHDACA humanitarian assistance program is limited, is not readily accessible to all DOD personnel, and has not been updated for several years.Furthermore, DOD, State, and USAID do not have full visibility over each others’ assistance efforts, which could result in a fragmented approach to U.S. assistance. There are several initiatives under way to improve information sharing, including one directed by the National Security Council. However, no framework, such as a common database, currently exists for the agencies to readily access information on each others’ efforts. Moreover, the potential for overlap exists among agencies’ efforts in four areas: (1) health, (2) education, (3) infrastructure, and (4) disaster preparation. For example, both USAID and DOD are conducting health care projects in Yemen and building schools in Azerbaijan. Overlap may be appropriate in some instances, especially if agencies can leverage each others’ efforts. However, given the agencies’ information-sharing challenges, there are questions as to whether DOD’s efforts are an efficient use of resources since USAID serves as the lead U.S. development agency. State and USAID officials said that DOD’s humanitarian assistance efforts can be beneficial, especially when responding to disasters or supporting foreign militaries. However, officials said DOD’s efforts can have negative political effects, particularly in fragile communities where even small gestures, such as distributing soccer balls to a particular population, can be interpreted as exhibiting favoritism. While DOD’s funding for humanitarian assistance is small relative to the billions spent by State and USAID, its programs are expanding. Given interagency information challenges, the fiscally-constrained environment, and the similarity of agencies’ assistance efforts, DOD and the other agencies involved in foreign assistance could benefit from additional direction from Congress on DOD’s role in performing humanitarian assistance in peacetime environments.Why GAO Did This StudyIn recent years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has increased its emphasis and spending on humanitarian assistance efforts outside of war and disaster environments. From fiscal years 2005 through 2010, DOD obligated about $383 million on its key humanitarian assistance programs. Because civilian agencies, such as the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also carry out many assistance efforts, DOD’s efforts require close collaboration with these agencies. This report was conducted as part of GAO’s response to a statutory mandate and reviewed (1) DOD’s management of two key humanitarian assistance programs—the humanitarian assistance program funded through its Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) appropriation and its Humanitarian and Civic Assistance program—and (2) the extent to which DOD, State, and USAID have visibility over each others’ efforts. To conduct this review, GAO analyzed funding and program information, and interviewed officials at DOD, State, USAID, nongovernment organizations, and 12 U.S. embassies.
    [Read More…]
  • Two sentenced after law enforcement uncovers illegal aliens in 100 degree trailer
    In Justice News
    A 28-year-old Laredoan [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio At a Joint Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Former Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament of Barbados Sentenced for Laundering Bribes
    In Crime News
    A former Minister of Industry and elected member of Parliament of Barbados was sentenced today to two years in prison for his role in a scheme to launder bribe payments from a Barbadian insurance company through bank accounts in New York.
    [Read More…]
  • Kyrgyz Republic National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime Charges After Using Dating App to Target Gay Men for Violent Crimes
    In Crime News
    A Texas man pleaded guilty yesterday to federal hate crime charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the Virtual U.S.-Nigeria Health Partnership Event
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • VA Construction: VA Should Enhance the Lessons-Learned Process for Its Real-Property Donation Pilot Program
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has received one real property donation through a partnership pilot program authorized by the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act of 2016 (CHIP-IN Act) and is planning for a second. This Act authorized VA to accept donated real property—such as buildings or facility construction or improvements—and to contribute certain appropriated funds to donors that are entering into donation agreements with VA. Under VA's interpretation, its ability to contribute to such funds is limited to major construction projects (over $20 million). The first CHIP-IN project—an ambulatory care center in Omaha, Nebraska—opened in August 2020. Pending requested appropriations for a second CHIP-IN project, VA intends to partner with another donor group to construct an inpatient medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (See figure.) Other potential donors have approached VA about opportunities that could potentially fit the CHIP-IN pilot, but these project ideas have not proceeded for various reasons, including the large donations required. VA officials told us they have developed a draft legislative proposal that seeks to address a challenge in finding CHIP-IN partnerships. For example, officials anticipate that a modification allowing VA to make funding contributions to smaller projects of $20 million and under would attract additional donors. Completed Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Ambulatory Care Center in Omaha, NE, and Rendering of Proposed Inpatient Facility in Tulsa, OK VA has discussed and documented some lessons learned from the Omaha project. For example, VA officials and the Omaha donor group identified and documented the benefits of a design review software that helped shorten timeframes and reduce costs compared to VA's typical review process. However, VA has not consistently followed a lessons-learned process, and as a result, other lessons, such as the decision-making that went into developing the Omaha project's donation agreement, have not been documented. Failure to document and disseminate lessons learned puts VA at risk of losing valuable insights from the CHIP-IN pilot that could inform future CHIP-IN projects or other VA construction efforts. VA has pressing infrastructure demands and a backlog of real property projects. VA can accept up to five real property donations through the CHIP-IN pilot program, which is authorized through 2021. GAO previously reported on the CHIP-IN pilot program in 2018. The CHIP-IN Act includes a provision for GAO to report on donation agreements entered into under the pilot program. This report examines: (1) the status of VA's efforts to execute CHIP-IN partnerships and identify additional potential partners and (2) the extent to which VA has collected lessons learned from the pilot, among other objectives. GAO reviewed VA documents, including project plans and budget information, and interviewed VA officials, donor groups for projects in Omaha and Tulsa, and selected non-profits with experience in fundraising. GAO compared VA's efforts to collect lessons learned with key practices for an overall lessons-learned process. GAO is making two recommendations to VA to implement a lessons-learned process. Recommendations include documenting and disseminating lessons learned from CHIP-IN pilot projects. VA concurred with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact Andrew Von Ah at (202) 512-2834 or vonaha@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Coin and Currency Production: Issues Concerning Who Should Provide Security
    In U.S GAO News
    The U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), which produce the nation's coins and currency, provide their own security and have experienced some problems with theft by employees. Although security is necessary to carry out the agencies' missions, their primary function is producing money. In light of these thefts, a congressional committee asked GAO whether the Mint and BEP should continue to provide their own security or whether the United States Secret Service should provide their security. Among the issues that GAO was asked to address were (1) how do the Mint, BEP, and other organizations that produce or handle large amounts of cash provide their security; (2) what thefts have occurred at the Mint and BEP and what steps have they taken to prevent thefts from recurring; and (3) what are the potential benefits and costs of having the Secret Service provide Mint and BEP security? The Mint said it generally agreed with the findings and conclusions that applied to the Mint. BEP and the Secret Service provided technical comments regarding the report, which GAO incorporated where appropriate, but had no overall comments on the report.The Mint and BEP use their own police forces to provide security. Eight of the 12 coin and currency organizations in the other G7 nations responded to our requests for information. Four organizations reported that they only used their own security forces; 2 organizations said they used their own security forces supplemented with contractor personnel; 1 organization said it used an outside agency to supplement its own security force; and 1 organization said that it used an outside agency to provide its security. Private businesses that handle large amounts of cash, such as banks and casinos, that we contacted said they used either their own security staff or contractor staff. The Mint and BEP have experienced some thefts by employees over the last decade. The Mint, which did not have records of security incidents that occurred more than 5 years ago, reported 74 incidents of theft involving about $93,000 from 1998 though 2002, while BEP reported 11 incidents of theft from 1993 through 2002 involving about $1.8 million. Both the Mint and BEP had threat assessments made of their facilities and processes and took corrective action to enhance security. The Secret Service said that if its Uniformed Division were charged with the responsibility of protecting the Mint and BEP, the two agencies could benefit from the Secret Service's expertise in protection and criminal investigations. However, unlike Secret Service police officers, Mint and BEP security personnel are already familiar with the coin and currency production processes, which is a benefit in identifying security risks in these manufacturing facilities. Further, if the Secret Service protected the Mint and BEP, the government could incur additional costs because the Secret Service requires more training for its officers than the Mint and BEP police. The Secret Service police officers also are provided more costly retirement benefits than the Mint and BEP police.
    [Read More…]
  • Clinical Researchers Sentenced in Connection with Scheme to Falsify Drug Trial Data
    In Crime News
    A federal judge sentenced a Florida nurse practitioner and a Florida woman to prison terms today in connection with their participation in a conspiracy to falsify data related to clinical drug trials.
    [Read More…]
  • Preclearance Request for Application
    In Travel
    Airport operators and [Read More…]
  • Defense Infrastructure: Documentation Lacking to Fully Support How DOD Determined Specifications for the Landstuhl Replacement Medical Center
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundDepartment of Defense (DOD) officials considered current beneficiary population data, contingency operations, and most of the expected changes in troop strength when planning for the replacement medical center. However, recently announced posture changes in January 2012 have yet to be assessed for their impact on the facility. DOD estimates that the replacement medical center will provide health care for nearly 250,000 beneficiaries. A majority of those who are expected to receive health care from the center come from within a 55-mile radius of the facility. DOD officials told us that because the replacement medical center was designed for peacetime operations—with the capacity to expand to meet the needs of contingency operations—reductions in ongoing contingency operations in Afghanistan would not have an impact on facility requirements. At the time of this review, DOD officials said they were in the process of assessing proposed changes in posture to better understand their possible impact on the sizing of the replacement medical center.DOD officials incorporated patient quality of care standards as well as environmentally friendly design elements in determining facility requirements for the replacement medical center. DOD also determined the size of the facility based on its projected patient workload. Internal control standards require the creation and maintenance of adequate documentation, which should be clear and readily available for examination to inform decision making. However, GAO’s review of the documentation DOD provided in support of its facility requirements showed (1) inconsistencies in how DOD applied projected patient workload data and planning criteria to determine the appropriate size for individual medical departments, (2) some areas where the documentation did not clearly demonstrate how planners applied criteria to generate requirements, and (3) calculation errors throughout. Without clear documentation of key analyses—including information on how adjustments to facility requirements were made—and without correct calculations, stakeholders and decision makers lack reasonable assurances that the replacement medical center will be appropriately sized to meet the needs of the expected beneficiary population in Europe.DOD’s process for developing the approximately $1.2 billion cost estimate for the replacement medical center was substantially consistent with many cost estimating best practices, such as cross-checking major cost elements to confirm similar results. However, DOD minimally documented the data sources, calculations, and estimating methodologies it used in developing the cost estimate. Additionally, DOD anticipates that the new facility will become the hub of a larger medical-services-related campus, for which neither cost estimates nor time frames have yet been developed. Without a cost estimate for the facility that includes detailed documentation, DOD cannot fully demonstrate that the proposed replacement medical center will provide adequate health care capacity at the current estimated cost. Further, DOD and Congress may not have the information they need to make fully informed decisions about the facility.Why GAO Did This StudyLandstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) is DOD’s only tertiary medical center in Europe that provides specialized care for servicemembers, retirees, and their dependents. Wounded servicemembers requiring critical care are medically evacuated from overseas operations to the 86th Medical Group clinic at Ramstein Air Base to receive stabilization care before being transported to LRMC for intensive care. According to DOD, both facilities were constructed in the 1950s and are undersized to meet current and projected workload requirements. DOD plans to consolidate both facilities into a single medical center at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. In this report, GAO (1) describes how DOD considered changes in posture and the beneficiary population when developing facility requirements, (2) assesses DOD’s process for determining facility requirements, and (3) reviews DOD’s process to develop the facility’s cost estimate. GAO examined posture planning documentation, beneficiary demographic data, plans for the replacement medical center, and relevant DOD guidance, as well as interviewed relevant DOD officials.
    [Read More…]
  • New York City Restaurateur Sentenced to Jail For Tax Evasion Scheme
    In Crime News
    A New York City restaurateur was sentenced to prison for a tax evasion scheme.
    [Read More…]
  • Former police officer convicted of child pornography charge
    In Justice News
    A 32-year-old former [Read More…]
  • Physician Indicted in $6 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A California woman was arrested Thursday in Los Angeles on criminal health care fraud charges arising from her false home health certifications and related fraudulent billings to Medicare.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.