Maryland United States Attorney Erek L. Barron Announces New Civil Rights Section on First Anniversary of His Appointment as United States Attorney | USAO-MD

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BaltimoreMaryland – On the first anniversary of his appointment as United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron, announced that after a year-long assessment of the office’s needs and working with leaders of the Civil Division and Criminal Division, the office is in the process of creating the Civil Rights and Special Victims Section. Sarah A. Marquardt and Paul E. Budlow were appointed co-heads of the new section and Charles D. Austin was appointed Deputy Chief.

“This section will be a beacon for protecting civil rights and combating crimes related to victims requiring specialized skills,” said Erek L. Barron, U.S. District Attorney for Maryland. “Sarah Marquardt, Paul Budlow and Charles Austin will lead a team of prosecutors, legal professionals and investigators who represent the best in the office,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron.

The Civil Rights and Special Victims Section will be comprised of Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) from the Civil Division and the Criminal Division. AUSAs and support staff from the Criminal Division’s Major Crimes Section will be integrated into the new section. The new section will continue to focus on cases involving vulnerable victims and federal criminal civil rights enforcement, including child exploitation, human trafficking and identity theft. The new section will also enforce a broad range of federal civil rights laws to protect the constitutional rights of Marylanders and affirm equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender , color, disability, religion, national or sexual origin. orientation. The work of the civil rights section will focus on prosecuting hate crimes, eradicating housing discrimination, preventing voter suppression, prohibiting discriminatory employment practices by employers of state and local governments, ensuring equal opportunity for Marylanders with disabilities, and investigating government denials of equal protection to students. schools and institutions of higher education.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of a year of accomplishments, including the hiring of a diverse group of 19 new Assistant United States Attorneys, the appointment of the most diverse group of supervisors in the Bureau’s history and the Bureau’s selection to serve on two national fraud task forces: the COVID-19 Fraud Strike Group and the Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force. COVID-19 Strike Force teams will deter, detect and disrupt pandemic fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts.

As part of the Bureau’s ongoing efforts to protect seniors and bring perpetrators of fraudulent schemes to justice, the Transnational Senior Fraud Task Force is dedicated to disrupting and prosecuting foreign fraud schemes that target seniors. seniors, including “grandparent scams”, romance scams, and advance fee schemes. The office also has strong outreach efforts to educate seniors and their family members about spotting and avoiding financial scams.

Reducing violent crime is a top priority for the office. U.S. Attorney Barron previously announced the creation of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, which combined the Violent Crimes and Narcotics Sections into a single unit. Additionally, U.S. Attorney Barron announced an unprecedented level of state funding to support USAO’s violent crime reduction efforts, including the hiring of 30 additional personnel. The U.S. Attorney further announced that prosecutors will use all available resources to investigate and prosecute repeat violent offenders, in particular using a federal school zone statute that makes it a crime to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet. of a school and reviewing any wrongdoing that meets the office. priorities, including COVID-19 CARES Act Fraud, specifically Unemployment Insurance Fraud, Paycheck Protection Program Fraud, Economic Disaster Loan Fraud.

Community outreach is another way the office tries to reduce violent crime. The Bureau’s Reintegration Program sponsored or assisted reintegration fairs throughout the state to provide resources and assistance to returning citizens and their families. In addition, the Office has begun to educate schools and youth programs to prevent young people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime.

“I am proud of the office’s accomplishments to date, and look forward to continuing to do all I can to serve the people of Maryland, keeping our communities safer through awareness and holding criminals accountable.” , said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron.

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