FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Steven W. Pelak

Holland & Hart LLP

Washington, DC, USA


Steve Pelak currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the Department of Justice and as the Justice Department's National Coordinator for Export Enforcement. In October of 2007, Steve was appointed as the Justice Department's first National Coordinator for Export Enforcement.  In that position and as Deputy Chief of the Counterespionage Section, he supervises investigations and prosecutions of export control, embargo, and espionage violations across the country along with other national security investigations and prosecutions. 

Before assuming his current role at the Department of Justice, Steve served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia for more than 18 years, beginning in February 1989. Steve served as a supervisor and line-prosecutor in, among other sections of that Office, the National Security Section and the Public Corruption & Government Fraud Section. In September 2001, Steve was appointed as the first Anti-terrorism Advisory Council Coordinator for the D.C.'s U.S. Attorney's Office, a position he held until his departure from that Office in 2007. As an AUSA, Steve investigated and prosecuted federal criminal offenses ranging from export control violations, terrorism related offenses, federal and local corruption matters, labor union corruption, to overseas murders and hostage takings of U.S. citizens.   

 Steve became an AUSA after several years in private practice as a lawyer for the law firms of Arnold & Porter and Hughes Hubbard & Reed in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Douglas W. Hillman, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Steve graduated cum laude from Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan Law School in 1982 and 1985, respectively.

 As an AUSA, Steve prosecuted a wide breadth of cases. For instance, in 1993 and 1994, Steve prosecuted the "MPD Dirty Dozen," a case involving 12 corrupt local police officers. From 1995-1997, Steve worked on a specially constituted task force investigating and prosecuting federal officials in relation to what became known as the Ruby Ridge incident. In the U.S. Attorney's Office, Steve has handled a number of terrorist investigations and prosecutions.  In August of 1998, Steve was dispatched by the Deputy Attorney General to Nairobi, Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania to assist in the initial stage of the investigation of the August 1998 East African embassy bombings.  He has also investigated and prosecuted one of the Office's most significant white collar investigations in recent years against the President and other top leaders of the International Ironworkers Union as well as accountants, lawyers, and professional advisors to the international labor union and its trust funds. 

 With regard to export control and embargo investigations and prosecutions, Steve has been involved in a number of significant criminal investigations and prosecutions. Among those investigations and prosecutions have been matters involving the unlawful provision of defense services to the Chinese government by U.S. satellite companies and the illegal export of nuclear triggering devices to Pakistan. Steve also handled the criminal investigation of one of the world's largest international banks, ABN AMRO Bank, for its violations of the Iranian Transactions Regulations, other OFAC sanctions, and anti-money laundering provisions of the U.S. Code, a matter resulting in a deferred prosecution agreement under which the Bank agreed to pay $500,000,000 as a forfeiture to the United States and to undertake other remedial actions.

 Steve has spoken and taught at numerous training courses and seminars, including for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the FBI Academy, the Customs/ICE Service Academy, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security, the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Labor-Management Standards, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other Squads of the FBI-Washington Field Office, the Counterintelligence Division and WMD Directorate of the FBI, the American Bar Association, the American Conference Institute, the Practicing Law Institute, various export trade associations, and many others. Through his work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice, Steve has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work and efforts, including a Director's Award for Litigation from the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys and the Attorney General's Annual Award for Furthering the National Security Interests of the United States.

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