About Us

STEF CASSELLA
Stef Photo

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 Asset Forfeiture Law in the United States, a one-volume resource designed to lead the practitioner, prosecutor, judge and policy maker through the labyrinth of statutes, rules and cases that govern this dynamic area of the law, and of 40 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.

Stef Cassella Resume

PETER GERMAN

Peter German served as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 31 years, retiring as Deputy Commissioner for Western and Northern Canada, and 4 years as Regional Deputy Commissioner (Pacific) for Correctional Service Canada. In the RCMP, he spearheaded the creation of market enforcement, international anti-corruption, and integrated counterfeit enforcement teams. He is currently the principal of a company providing investigative and strategic advice to public and private entities, on administrative, criminal justice and complex workplace matters.

A lawyer and member of the Ontario and British Columbia bars, Dr. German holds graduate degrees in law and political science, including a doctorate in law from the University of London focussed on international asset recovery. He is the author of Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering, published by Thomson Reuters. His awards include Officer of the Order of Merit of Police, and the Gold Medal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. He has served as a Canadian delegate to various international forums.

Pete German Resume

RICHARD HOFFMAN

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.

Richard-Hoffman-resume

DIANE KOZUB

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.

Diane Kozub Resume

JIM RUSSELL

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 CoJim Russell photounsel 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.

Jim Russell Resume

SHARON BURNHAM

During 25 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sharon Burnham was in the vanguard of federal forfeiture S burnham PHOTOattorneys.  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.

Sharon Burnham Resume

MIKE DAVITT

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.

Mike Davitt Resume

TOM SWAIM

Thomas P. Swaim served for 30 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina and in the NorthernTom Swaim photo 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.

Tom Swaim Resume

TONY HALL

Tony Hall served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney Office for the District of Idaho from 1989 to 2016.  He has extensive experience in litigating international asset forfeiture and money laundering cases, and has provided training on those topics for law enforcement agents, lawyers and judges in other countries including Bosnia, Croatia, Mozambique (he is fluent in Portuguese), South Africa and Hong Kong.   He also has done training on numerous occasions for U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, SC and elsewhere.

In 1996, Mr. Hall was awarded United States Attorney General’s John Marshall Award for Participation in Litigation for the seven-year international investigation and prosecution of two major drug smuggling/money-laundering organizations (“Parten” and “Whelan”) operating in the U.S., South America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe, which resulted in numerous convictions and the forfeiture of over $7.9 million in laundered drug proceeds from seven countries.  Most recently, he won the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigation Team” in United States vs. Swenson, et al, for prosecution of owners and officers of DBSI, Inc., a national real estate development, management and investment company, for fraud which resulted in a forfeiture judgment amount of $228 million, and substitute assets of $1.37 million.

Tony Hall Resume