United States Attorney, Southern District of New York
On May 15, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Preet Bharara to become the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Bharara’s nomination was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7, 2009, and he was sworn in on August 13, 2009.
As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Bharara oversees the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the United States in the Southern District of New York, which encompasses New York, Bronx, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Sullivan counties. He supervises an office of more than 210 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who handle a high volume of cases that involve domestic and international terrorism, narcotics and arms trafficking, financial and healthcare fraud, public corruption, gang violence, organized crime, and civil rights violations.
As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Bharara has applied renewed focus on the prosecution of large-scale, sophisticated financial frauds by creating two units—the Complex Frauds Unit and the Civil Frauds Unit. The Civil Frauds Unit has brought a number of significant civil actions alleging financial and healthcare fraud, collected hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements (including from Deutsche Bank and CitiMortgage for fraud relating to faulty lending practices), and required institutions to make admissions as part of the settlements. The Complex Frauds Unit has charged some of the most important and cutting edge tax fraud, bank fraud, and cybercrime cases in the world, including against Swiss bank Wegelin & Co., core members of the hacking groups LulzSec and Anonymous, and digital currency provider Liberty Reserve.
Under Mr. Bharara’s supervision, the office has remained at the forefront of prosecuting corruption in New York City and State government. Notable public corruption defendants include New York State Senators Malcolm Smith, Carl Kruger, Vincent Leibell, and Hiram Monserrate; New York State Assemblymen Eric Stevenson and Nelson Castro; and New York City Councilmen Larry Seabrook and Daniel Halloran. The office also has prosecuted more than 500 members and associates of various gangs operating in the Bronx, Newburgh, Yonkers, and other areas, in an effort to make communities in the Southern District safer for its residents.
Since Mr. Bharara’s appointment as U.S. Attorney, the office has successfully extradited and prosecuted one of the most notorious arms traffickers in the world, Viktor Bout; obtained a life sentence for the Times Square bomber; and convicted one of the Al Qaeda members responsible for plotting the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa. In addition, the office has convicted scores of insider trading defendants, including Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and McKinsey managing director and Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta. Together with the Madoff trustee, the office has also achieved the largest forfeiture in U.S. history—$7.2 billion from the estate of Jeffrey Picower.
In June 2012, The New York Times published an op-ed written by Mr. Bharara entitled, “Asleep at the Laptop,” about the growing cyber threat to private industry. Mr. Bharara was featured on the cover of TIME magazine and appeared on its 2012 list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” He was also included in Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” and Bloomberg Markets Magazine’s “50 Most Influential” lists in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, Mr. Bharara delivered the keynote address at the commencement ceremonies of Columbia University Law School and Fordham University Law School, which awarded him an honorary degree.
Prior to becoming the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Bharara served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. During his tenure, he helped to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation of the firing of United States Attorneys.
From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Bharara served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide range of cases involving organized crime, racketeering, securities fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and other crimes.
Mr. Bharara was a litigation associate in New York at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman from 1996 to 2000 and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1993 to 1996. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in Government in 1990, and from Columbia Law School with a J.D. in 1993, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review.