As a federal prosecutor, Stefan D. Cassella was one of the federal government’s leading experts on asset forfeiture and money laundering law for over thirty years. He now serves as an expert witness and consultant to law enforcement agencies and the private sector as the CEO of AssetForfeitureLaw, LLC.
As a Deputy Chief of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and later as the Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Cassella litigated some of the Government’s most significant forfeiture and money laundering cases and drafted many of the federal forfeiture and money laundering statutes.
He is the author of two treatises — Federal Money Laundering: Crimes and Forfeiture and Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States — which lead the practitioner, prosecutor, judge and policy maker through the labyrinth of statutes, rules and cases that govern these dynamic areas of the law, and of nearly 50 law review articles on money laundering and forfeiture. He has trained state and federal prosecutors and agents and their counterparts in numerous foreign countries, including over 200 lectures at the National Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina.
Mr. Cassella is also the author and publisher of the Money Laundering and Forfeiture Digest, a monthly compendium of the forfeiture and money laundering cases decided by the federal courts that is circulated to hundreds of state, federal and foreign prosecutors and lawyers, law enforcement agents, academics and policy makers in the U.S. and abroad.
Peter German is the author of ‘Dirty Money” and ‘Dirty Money Part 2, reports commissioned by the Attorney General of BC, relating to allegations of money laundering in the Casino, Real Estate, Luxury Vehicle & Horse Racing sectors. Dr. German is President of the International Center for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy at the University
of British Columbia. A lawyer and member of the Ontario and British Columbia bars, he previously served as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, retiring as Deputy Commissioner for Western and Northern Canada, and as Regional Deputy Commissioner Pacific for Correctional Service Canada. He holds various degrees including a Doctorate in Law from the University of London, focused on asset recovery. He is the author of ‘Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering’, published by Thomson Reuters. His awards include Queen’s Counsel and Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.
Yehuda Shaffer served as the Israeli Deputy State Attorney (Financial Enforcement) from 2009 until 2018, his major responsibilities being the oversight of all investigations and prosecutions of proceeds-generating crime, including money laundering and confiscation. Before that he was the director and founder of IMPA – (the Israel Money-Laundering and Terror-Financing Prohibition Authority), which is the Israeli FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit) in the Ministry of Justice.
Mr. Shaffer has been an expert evaluator in several Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terror Financing (AML/CFT) evaluations on behalf of the Council of Europe (Moneyval) and the IMF (Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Poland, Jersey, Isle of man), and is a regular trainer of evaluators in Moneyval\FATF evaluator courses. He serves regularly as an expert as part of technical assistance programs for Financial Intelligence Units and Police, Prosecutors and Judges, and has assisted in drafting of legislation and National Risk Assessments (NRA), on behalf of the Council of Europe and UNODC. For example, he has consulted with Latvia on the investigations emerging from the ABLV bank self-liquidation process and with several financial centers in the Moneyval region on preparation for Moneyval and FATF evaluations, and has trained prosecutors and judges on these matters in several European and Asian jurisdictions.
Richard L. Hoffman served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston, Massachusetts for 20 years. In that time, he was the Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Asian Crime Coordinator of the Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, and the Office’s Money Laundering Expert. He also served for three-and-a-half years as the Assistant Deputy Chief for Legal Policy at the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
Mr. Hoffman has taught classes in forfeiture, money laundering, and financial investigation to federal and state prosecutors, federal agents, state and local law enforcement officers, government officials, and investigative staff at dozens of seminars and small training sessions around the continental U.S., in Puerto Rico, and in Japan.
His varied background also includes time in private practice at Hale and Dorr in Boston, and as a professional actor, teacher, and radio news director and talk show host.
From 1985 until November 2013, Diane Kozub was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. With the exception of the period from July 2009 through January 2012, she litigated civil and criminal forfeiture cases involving violations of federal laws (e.g., drug, money laundering, specified unlawful activity, currency and reporting, firearms, and import / export ) on behalf of federal agencies (including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Secret Service (SS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS)).
From July 2009 until January 2012, Ms. Kozub served as the Asset Forfeiture/Money Laundering Coordinator on a detail to the Executive Office of United States Attorneys (EOUSA), United States Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, she provided advice and assistance to EOUSA and 93 United States Attorney’s offices, on legal, logistical, and programmatic issues arising as part of the Department’s Asset Forfeiture/Money Laundering Program. She also served as a liaison between EOUSA and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, components of the Department of Justice (e.g., DEA, FBI, ATF) and Department of Treasury (e.g., IRS, SS, DHS) Asset Forfeiture Programs, and other agencies.
Since her retirement from the Department of Justice in November 2013, she has been a consultant on asset forfeiture cases.
James S. Russell served as the chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, Colorado from 1988 to 2010, and returned to that office as Senior Forfeiture Counsel from 2012 to 2014 after a two-year stint in Washington, DC. During his time in Denver, he handled all manner of civil and criminal asset forfeiture matters and taught asset forfeiture, money laundering and financial investigations techniques to local, state, federal and international audiences that included agents, prosecutors and judges in the United States and overseas.
In Washington from 2010 to 2012, Mr. Russell served as Attorney Adviser to the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and as Chief of the Financial Exploitation Team at the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) where he directed teams of analysts and retired agents in identifying seizable assets.
In additional to his extensive experience with international asset forfeiture matters, Mr. Russell has also served as an international Rugby referee.
During 25 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sharon Burnham was in the vanguard of federal forfeiture attorneys. After only two years in this complex field, she received a Department of Justice Director’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Asset Forfeiture for a record-setting series of forfeiture actions. She served as the Asset Forfeiture Chief for the Western District of Virginia (WDVA) for over 16 years, receiving an additional three awards recognizing the complexity and quality of her work in asset forfeiture. While Asset Forfeiture Chief, she and her staff developed an innovative database system for managing cases. She also participated in several DOJ forfeiture working groups and in the working group to revise Virginia forfeiture laws. She was a well-regarded teacher, having provided forfeiture training to attorneys, agents, and support staff nationally and internationally.
Ms. Burnham is also a seasoned litigator. She has served as lead counsel on civil cases, both in private practice and on behalf of the federal government. She has had numerous trials as a federal criminal prosecutor, and handled hundreds of cases involving white collar fraud, cigarette and alcohol laws, technology transfer, counterfeiting, drugs, and violent crimes.
Ms. Burnham has demonstrated her leadership as the Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney for the WDVA between December 2009 and her retirement in 2014. As a member of the management team, she advised the U.S. Attorney on district-wide matters and supervised the Community Relations Unit with five staff members.
Michael Davitt was a career federal prosecutor who served for nine years as the Deputy Chief for Litigation of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and then finished his career as Senior Counsel in the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In those positions, Mr. Davitt oversaw a series of investigations of financial institutions including Banco Popular, Riggs Bank, Bank Atlantic and American Express Bank International, and investigated securities matters involving insider trading and accounting fraud. Among many other significant cases, he handled the investigation and prosecution of a $500 million money laundering scheme involving the proceeds of the Colombia drug cartels that resulted in the convictions and forfeiture judgments in United States v. Hurley, 63 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1995), and United States v. Saccoccia, 433 F.3d 19 (1st Cir. 2005).
Mr. Davitt has delivered numerous presentations on money laundering, asset forfeiture, financial investigations and bank prosecutions and received numerous awards from the Department of Justice over a 35-year career.
Thomas P. Swaim served for 30 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina and in the Northern District of Florida. He handled numerous felony criminal trials, primarily involving Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) litigations, while specializing in money laundering and asset forfeiture.
Mr. Swaim was one of the asset forfeiture coordinators in Raleigh, NC, received the Justice Department’s National Director’s Award for his work in that area, and served on the working group that crafted the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act in the 1990s. His most important contribution, however, involved his skill as an instructor and communicator, training federal, state and local law enforcement agents in the conduct of complex investigations, the prosecution of money laundering offenses, and the recovery of assets.
Donnie Ingrasselino is a retired police detective who served for more than 18 years with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey specializing in money laundering and financial investigations. Serving on state/federal task forces with the DEA and FBI, he coordinated over 1000 investigations brought before Federal and Superior Courts, authored more than 100 court orders for financial, data, tracking, and authorized wiretaps, and directed covert, security, surveillance, criminal interdiction, intelligence, and undercover operations.
He has been certified as a Subject Matter Expert testifying in Federal and State courts on Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture, and Narcotics matters, is the founder of Cop4Life LLC, a training, career development, and consulting firm, and has extensive experience in providing financial investigations training to police officers in the United States and overseas.
L. Jeffrey Ross spent 29 years focusing on BSA/AML/OFAC/CTF matters, first in the Treasury and Justice Departments and later as the Senior Vice President, BSA/AML/OFAC Officer, at Green Dot Bank. During his Government service, he received the USDOJ John Marshall Award and US Treasury Meritorious Services Award in recognition of his expertise in anti-money laundering compliance issues, and in July 2017, he was voted “Titan of Compliance” by his peers (FinTech Futures/Paybefore Magazine). He was also featured in former Deputy National Security Adviser’s Juan Zarate’s book Treasury’s War.
For the past 10+ years at a publicly-traded, MSB-registered, bank holding company, Jeff has been on the cutting edge of FinTech offerings, including ApplePayCash, Uber and, most recently, Stash mobile-based broker/dealer accounts via the BaaS platform, and was responsible for ensuring that AML risks are factored into the development of new products or product functions.
Michael J. Messier’s career as a Special Agent with United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spanned 15 years in domestic and international assignments. In 1995, Mr. Messier entered DEA after spending 10 years as a practicing, licensed financial adviser in New York City. His last position with DEA was as a Supervisory Special Agent stationed at the US Embassy in Mexico City where he led DEA’s Mexico Financial Investigations Group. Mr. Messier also worked closely with the US Department of Treasury to impose economic sanctions on significant drug traffickers designated as Drug Trafficking Kingpins by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
In 2010, Mr. Messier left DEA to join Bank of America as a Managing Director tasked to build out, develop and lead the Latin American Region under Global Financial Crimes & Compliance. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, Mr. Messier directed efforts to integrate the Bank’s AML Enterprise Program with Latin American lines of business to mitigate risks and to comply with local regulatory requirements.
In 2015, Mr. Messier became a private consultant and currently advises and provides counsel to select clients on financial crime and BSA compliance matters, specifically related to money laundering, financing of terrorism and corruption, along with developing and drafting risk assessments. He has also created, developed and delivered financial investigation and compliance training to law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and financial regulators in the US and countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Eurasia. A Spanish speaker, Mr. Messier has spoken at numerous conferences and participated on panel discussions on BSA compliance and financial crime matters in domestic and international venues.
Len Briskman is an expert in property management. He was the Program Manager for complex assets at the Asset Forfeiture Division at the US Marshals Service where he was responsible for the evaluation, monitoring, and disposal of all operating businesses, real estate, both residential and commercial, and complex financial instruments seized and forfeited by the US Department of Justice. In that capacity, he managed some of the largest and most complex forfeiture cases that the Marshals Service has had to undertake.
Len is an Accredited Senior Appraiser in business valuations with the American Society of Appraisers and holds certifications from the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors as a Restructuring and Insolvency advisor and in Distressed Business Valuation. He is available to assist law enforcement agencies and private parties in cases where his expertise is needed to evaluate, appraise, monitor, manage, and assist in the recovery process of assets subject to seizure and forfeiture .
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