U.S. Attorney for Eastern District to step down

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has announced his resignation, effective midnight on Dec. 23.

Zane David Memeger

Zane David Memeger

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger has served in the position since May 6, 2010, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“It has been the highest honor and most fulfilling duty of my legal career to have served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” said Memeger in the release. “Having served in this challenging and demanding job for the last six and a half years, the time has come for me to step away to focus on my family and explore new opportunities in the private sector.”

During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, Memeger expanded the office’s core enforcement mission by implementing novel youth crime prevention and prisoner reentry programs as part of a three-part strategy to combat violent crime in Philadelphia. Those efforts included a partnership with Strawberry Mansion High School, the implementation of restorative justice “youth courts” in schools to deal with minor disciplinary infractions, and the development of the reentry film “Pull of Gravity,” the release said.

Additionally, Memeger served for three years (2014-16) on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a national committee established in 1973 to serve as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys and advise the Attorney General on legal and policy issues that impact U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide. In that capacity, he also chaired the AGAC’s Health Care Fraud Working Group.

With a focus on prosecuting cases involving national security, public corruption, healthcare and financial fraud, civil rights, large-scale drug-dealing, violent crime, child exploitation, and offenses against other vulnerable victims, some of the signature achievements during his tenure outlined in the release include:

  • Guilty pleas from Colleen Larose, a/k/a “Jihad Jane,” Mohamed Hassan Khalid, and Jamie Paulin Ramirez for conspiring to provide material support to terrorist groups in South Asia and Europe by soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and travel documents for terrorists, and recruiting men and women in an effort to wage violent jihad.
  • A guilty verdict against then U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Sr. and four criminal associates for RICO conspiracy and related public corruption offenses involving the misuse of campaign and grant funds, bribery, and money laundering.
  • Convictions and prison sentences against several municipal court and traffic court judges who fixed cases and obstructed justice by lying to federal agents and the grand jury.
  • Convictions and prison sentences against more than 25 police and law enforcement officers who abused their authority by engaging in acts of theft, extortion, drug trafficking, and obstruction of justice.
  • Convictions of Joseph Dougherty, a high-level union official with Ironworkers Local 401, and 10 union members and associates who were sentenced to significant prison terms for engaging in a RICO conspiracy involving a systematic pattern of extortion, arson, and assault to force non-union companies to hire union workers.
  • Convictions and prison sentences against Anthony DeMarco and his co-conspirators who operated a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that victimized homeowners facing eviction. Also obtained a civil injunction stopping the foreclosures.
  • Convictions in multiple identity theft rings, including Miguel Bell, sentenced to 15 years in prison, who along with 10 bank employees, a car dealership employee, and eight check runners and other recruiters, attempted to steal more than $2 million dollars from his victims’ bank accounts.
  • A misdemeanor guilty plea and a False Claims Act (FCA) settlement stemming from off-label marketing allegations for Risperdal against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., contributing $1.6 billion to a department-wide global settlement of $2.2 billion against J&J. The EDPA’s Risperdal resolution was the largest single drug settlement to date.
  • A $38 million dollar settlement with Extendicare Health Services Inc. to resolve FCA allegations related to deficiencies in the operation of its skilled nursing homes.
  • Guilty pleas and prison sentences for four corporate executives at Synthes Inc. who violated federal drug laws by failing to stop illegal clinical trials of Norian XR bone cement, resulting in three patient deaths.
  • A life sentence for Linda Weston who pled guilty to running a criminal enterprise that held disabled adults in dungeon like conditions in order to steal their social security benefits, two of whom died while in her captivity.
  • A review of 25 of the most popular restaurants in Philadelphia to determine and ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • A death penalty sentence for Kaboni Savage who was convicted by a jury of killing 12 people, including killing the family of a cooperating witness by firebombing their home.

As of Dec. 24, Louis D. Lappen, currently the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, will assume leadership of the office. Lappen has served in the Department of Justice since 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Duke University School of Law.

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