Preet Bharara

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Preet Bharara
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Incumbent
Assumed office
2009
Preceded byLev L. Dassin (acting)
ConstituencySouthern District of New York
Personal details
Born1968
Ferozepur Punjab, India
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materHarvard University
Columbia University (J.D.)
 
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Preet Bharara
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Incumbent
Assumed office
2009
Preceded byLev L. Dassin (acting)
ConstituencySouthern District of New York
Personal details
Born1968
Ferozepur Punjab, India
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materHarvard University
Columbia University (J.D.)

Preetinder Singh "Preet" Bharara (born 1968) an Indian American, is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[1] In 2012, Bharara was named by Time magazine as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World," and by India Abroad as its 2011 Person of the Year.[2][3][4] Bharara was also featured on a cover of Time Magazine entitled "This Man is Busting Wall Street" for his office's prosecutions of insider trading and other financial fraud on Wall Street. [5][6]

Contents

Early life and education

Bharara was born in 1968 in Firozpur, Punjab, India, to a Sikh father and Hindu mother.[7] He grew up in Eatontown in suburban Monmouth County, New Jersey[8] and attended Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1986.[9][10] He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1990 and Columbia Law School in 1993, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review.[7]

Career

Bharara previously served as the chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer and played a leading role in the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary investigation into the firings of United States attorneys.[11] He was assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan for five years, bringing criminal cases against the bosses of the Gambino and Colombo crime families and Asian gangs in New York City.[11][12][13]

U.S. Attorney

Bharara was nominated to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama on May 15, 2009 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He was sworn in to the position on August 13, 2009.

In May 2011, Bharara's office convicted hedge fund billionaire, Raj Rajaratnam at trial on 14 counts related to insider trading.[14] Bharara is said to have "reaffirmed his office’s leading role in pursuing corporate crime with this landmark insider trading case, which relied on aggressive prosecutorial methods and unprecedented tactics."[15] Bharara has often spoken publicly and written an op-ed about the culture surrounding corporate crime and its effect on market confidence and business risk.[16]

Bharara has said the office’s top priority is protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism, whether homegrown or foreign-based.[17] During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, the office has prosecuted several international terrorists, and secured life sentences for Faisal Shazad, the Times Square Bomber, and Ahmed Ghailani, an Al Qaeda associate who was responsible for the mass murder of innocents at the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.[18][19] Bharara’s office convicted Affia Siddiqui for attempting to kill American servicemen in Afghanistan as well as four men for plotting to blow up a synagogue in Riverdale.[20][21] In February 2011, the first pirate in modern times, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to more than 33 years in prison, following prosecution by the office.[22] Bharara’s office is also prosecuting alleged associates of al-Shabaab, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Hizballah. According to Bharara, after 9/11 “as crime has gone global and national security threats are global, in my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”[23]

Preet Bharara on the cover of “Time (magazine)”.

Bharara’s office worked together with the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC to secure a $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of Jeffrey Picower – the largest forfeiture in U.S. history.[24] The money will be used to compensate victims of Madoff’s fraud. His office is also handling the criminal prosecutions of several employees at Madoff’s firm and their associates. The investigation remains ongoing.

Bharara has said that “there is no prosecutor’s office in the state that takes more seriously the responsibility to root out public corruption in Albany and anywhere else that we might find it, and I think our record speaks for itself.”[25] During his tenure, Bharara has charged several current and former elected officials in public corruption cases, including Senator Vincent Leibell, Senator Hiram Monserrate, NYC Councilman Larry Seabrook, and Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi.[26][27][28][29] [30] Bharara’s office uncovered an alleged corruption ring involving New York State Senator Carl Kruger. In April 2012, Kruger was sentenced to seven years in prison.[31] In February 2011, Bharara announced the indictment of five consultants working on New York City’s electronic payroll and timekeeping project, CityTime, for misappropriating more than $80 million from the project. The investigation has expanded with five additional defendants being charged, including a consultant who allegedly received more than $5 million illegal kickbacks on the projects.[32]

In January 2011, Bharara’s office participated in a multi-state organized crime takedown, charging 26 members of the Gambino crime family with racketeering, murder, narcotics, and firearms charges.[33] This action was part of a coordinated effort with U.S. Attorney Offices in Brooklyn, New York, Newark, New Jersey and Providence, Rhode Island. Bharara has also overseen the largest criminal sweep of gangs in Newburgh, New York, working with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies to bring charges against members of the Latin Kings and Bloods gangs, amongst others.[34]

Since entering office, Bharara renewed focus on sophisticated, large-scale frauds, creating a Complex Frauds Unit in the Criminal Division and a partner Civil Frauds Unit in the Civil Division to focus on these types of crimes. The Complex Frauds Unit has uncovered and prosecuted cases involving frauds of all kinds, including a massive fraud involving disability benefits at the Long Island Rail Road, an immigration fraud mill that operated through a Manhattan-based law firm, and a $57.3 million fraud on the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which administers programs established to aid the survivors of Nazi persecution.[35][36][37] The Complex Frauds Unit is also uniquely situated to address the emerging threat of cybercrime. In November 2011, the Office charged seven defendants with operating an internet fraud scheme that infected more than four million computers worldwide and manipulated internet advertising business.[38] In a June 4, 2012 op-ed in The New York Times, Bharara warned about the threat posed to private industry by cybercrime and encouraged corporate leaders to take preventative measures and create contingency plans.[39] The Civil Frauds Unit has investigated and brought cases against Deutsche Bank and a subsidiary, Mortgage IT, as well as Allied Home Mortgage, for reckless and fraudulent lending practices.[40][41] In February 2012, the office filed and simultaneously settled a civil fraud lawsuit against CitiMortgage. As part of the settlement, the bank admitted and accepted responsibility for failing to comply with certain HUD-related loan requirements and other conduct and agreed to pay the U.S. $158.3 million.[42]

Bharara with his wife at the 2012 Time 100 gala

Bharara has also been very active in prosecutions related to online poker. In 2010, he "threatened an Australian payment processor with up to 75 years in prison for helping online poker companies do business with their U.S. customers."[43] In April 2011, Bharara charged 11 founding members of internet gambling companies and their associates involved with pay processing with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).[44] The case is United States v. Scheinberg. "Bharara does not claim online poker directly violates federal law, which prohibits the use of 'a wire communication facility' to accept bets 'on any sporting event or contest' but is silent on the legality of other online wagers. Instead he piggybacks on a New York statute that makes promoting 'unlawful gambling activity' a Class A misdemeanor. Bharara's indictment also mentions 'the laws of other states,' a few of which do explicitly ban online poker."[43] He has been accused of seeking the "most expedient" cases to pursue, rather than the most serious, such as online poker and insider trading,[45] and of taking "an alleged New York misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and turning it into multiple federal felonies".[46]

In regards to the role of the prosecutor and the correct attitude of the prosecutor Mr. Bharara will ask all applicants to his office "How are you going to feel knowing that every day in your job, by definition of you doing your job correctly on the criminal side, you will basically be the proximate cause for, and responsible for, another human being losing his or her liberty for periods of time?" He continues, "From time to time, you get an applicant that is a little bit excited about that prospect. And takes some joy in that prospect. And they are a little too zealous about it. And you know what we do? We don't hire that person." "You don't want a justice system where you have prosecutors who are cowboys"[47]

Bharara's signature is also found at the indictment against suspected hackers of the LulzSec group. [48]

Personal

Bharara is a naturalized United States citizen.[7] He is married with three children.[9] His brother, Vinit Bharara, is a successful entrepreneur having started various consumer businesses including diapers.com.[49]

References

  1. ^ "Meet U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara". U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/meetattorney.html. 
  2. ^ The 2012 Time 100, Time (magazine), "Preet Bharara." By Viet Dinh. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Preet Bharara, the man who makes Wall Street Tremble, is India Abroad Person of the Year 2011". Rediff. 2012-06-30. http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-preet-bharara-is-india-abroad-person-of-the-year-2011/20120630.htm. 
  4. ^ Bharara, Preet. "Person of the Year Acceptance Speech". Rediff. http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-watch-the-best-videos-of-the-week/20120707.htm. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "This Man is Busting Wall Street". Time Magazine. 2012-02-13. http://www.time.com/time/covers/europe/0,16641,20120213,00.html. 
  6. ^ Calabresi, Massimo and Saporito, Bill (2012-02-13). "The Street Fighter". Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105971,00.html. 
  7. ^ a b c Weiser, Benjamin (August 9, 2009). "For Manhattan’s Next U.S. Attorney, Politics and Prosecution Don’t Mix". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/nyregion/10bharara.html. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ Lattman, Peter. "The Fabulous Bharara Boys", The New York Times, June 9, 2011. Accessed August 9, 2012. "He told the audience that he and his brother, who grew up in Eatontown, N.J., carved similar paths. Preet, 42, graduated from Harvard College; Vinnie, 39, the University of Pennsylvania."
  9. ^ a b "Preet Bharara, the new top federal prosecutor zeroes in on white-collar crime". India Times/Reuters. October 20, 2009. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/Preet-Bharara-the-new-top-federal-prosecutor-zeroes-in-on-white-collar-crime/articleshow/5141088.cms. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ Chang, Ailsa (January 27, 2011). "Meet Preet Bharara: New York's Highest-Profile Prosecutor". WNYC News. http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2011/jan/27/preet-bharara-hard-charging-humble-prosecutor/. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Shipman, Tim (June 3, 2007). orldnews/1553492/Mafia-prosecutor-now-has-Bush-in-his-sights.html "Mafia prosecutor now has Bush in his sights". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/w orldnews/1553492/Mafia-prosecutor-now-has-Bush-in-his-sights.html. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ Jones, Ashby (February 11, 2009). "The Likely Next U.S. Attorney for NY’s Southern District: Preet Bharara". The Wall Street Journal. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/02/11/the-likely-next-us-attorney-for-nys-southern-district-preet-bharara/. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ Calabresi, Massimo (November 13, 2009). "Prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Much Harder Than You Think". TIME. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1939374,00.html?xid=rss-topstories. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  14. ^ U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York (May 11, 2011). "Hedge Fund Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court Of Insider Trading Charges". Press Release. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/index.html. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Weiser, Benjamin; Lattman, Peter (May 12, 2011). "U.S. Attorney Sends a Message to Wall Street". The New York Times. http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/u-s-attorney-sends-a-message-to-wall-street/. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  16. ^ Bharara, Preet (July 23, 2012). "Why Corporate Fraud Is So Rampant: Wall Street's Cop". CNBC. http://www.cnbc.com/id/48286908. 
  17. ^ "Prepared Remarks by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara". New York Financial Writers Association. CUNY School of Journalism. New York, New York. June 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Faisal Shahzad Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Life in Prison for Attempted Times Square Bombing". Press Release. U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York. October 5, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Statement of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on the Sentencing of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. January 25, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/January11/ghailanisentencingstatement.pdf. 
  20. ^ "Aafia Siddiqui Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Attempting to Murder U.S. Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Charges" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. February 3, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/February10/siddiquiaafiaverdictpr.pdf. 
  21. ^ "Four Men Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Plotting to Bomb Synagogue and Jewish Community Center and to Shoot Military Planes with Stinger Missiles" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. October 18, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October10/cromitieetalverdictpr.pdf. 
  22. ^ "Somalian Pirate Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 405 Months in Prison for Hijacking Three Ships and for Hostage Taking" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. February 16, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/February11/museabduwalisentencingpr.pdf. 
  23. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (March 27, 2011). "A New York Prosecutor With Worldwide Reach". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/nyregion/28prosecutor.html. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Agreement to Recover $7.2 Billion for Victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme from State of Jeffry M. Picower" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. December 17, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/December10/picowerforfeituresettlementpr.pdf. 
  25. ^ Dovere, Isaac-Edward (December 13, 2010). "On Fighting Public and Financial corruption in New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Takes the Lead". City Hall News. http://www.cityhallnews.com/2010/12/department-of-justice/. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Former New York State Senator and Putnam County Executive-Elect Pleads Guilty in White Plains Federal Court to Obstruction of Justice and Tax Charges" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. December 6, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/December10/leibellvincentpleapr.pdf. 
  27. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Former New York State Senator and New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate with Conspiracy and Mail Fraud Crimes" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. October 19, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October10/monserratehiramarrestpr.pdf. 
  28. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Bronx City Councilman with Public Corruption Crimes" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. February 9, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/February10/seabrooklarryindictmentpr.pdf. 
  29. ^ "United States Attorney Charges Former Democratic Majority Leader of Yonkers City Council, Former Yonkers Republican Party Chief, and Attorney with Public Corruption Crimes" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. January 6, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/January10/annabisandyetalindictmentpr.pdf. 
  30. ^ Glenza, Jessica. "Jury Finds Yonkers Officials Guilty in Corruption Trial". The Rivertowns Daily Voice. http://rivertowns.dailyvoice.com/news/jury-finds-annabi-jereis-guilty-corruption. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  31. ^ "Former New York State Senator Carl Kruger Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 7 Years in Prison for Bribery Schemes" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. April 26, 2012. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April12/krugercarlandmichaelturanosentencing.html. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Four New Defendants in an Unprecedented Scheme to Defraud New York City in Connection with Citytime Project" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. June 20, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/June11/citytimes2indictmentpr.pdf. 
  33. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 26 Gambino Crime Family Leaders, Members, and Associates on Racketeering, Murder, Narcotics, Firearms, and Other Charges" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. January 20, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/January11/gambinotakedownpr.pdf. 
  34. ^ "United States Charges 78 Members and Associates of Newburgh Bloods and Latin Kings with Narcotics-Trafficking Crimes" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. March 13, 2010. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/May10/newburghoperationblooddriveoperationblackcrown.pdf. 
  35. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Pension Disability Fraud Charges Against Eleven Defendants Associated with the Long Island Railroad That Could Cost $1 Billion" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. October 27, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October11/ajemianetalchargespr.pdf. 
  36. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Twelve Defendants for Operating A Massive Immigration Fraud Mill Through a Manhattan Law Firm" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. October 11, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October11/davidearletalarrestspr.pdf. 
  37. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Announce Arrests of Eight Additional Defendants for Participating in $57.3 Million Fraud on Organization that Makes Reparations to Victims of Nazi Persecution" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. October 12, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/October11/claimsconferenceiiarrestspr.pdf. 
  38. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Seven Individuals for Engineering Sophisticated Internet Fraud Scheme that Infected Millions of Computers Worldwide and Manipulated Internet Advertising Business" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. November 9, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/November11/tsastsinetalindictmentpr.pdf. 
  39. ^ Bharara, Preet (June 4, 2012). "Asleep at the Laptop". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/opinion/preventing-a-cybercrime-wave.html?_r=1. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  40. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Sues Deutsche Bank and Subsidiary Mortgageit for Years of Reckless Lending Practices" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. May 3, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/May11/deutschebankmortgageitpr.pdf. 
  41. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Sues Allied Home Mortgage, CEO, and Executive Vice President for Fraudulent Lending Practices Currently Associated with $834 Million in Insurance Claims Paid by HUD" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. November 1, 2011. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/November11/alliedhomemortgagepr.pdf. 
  42. ^ "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Files and Simultaneously Settles Fraud Lawsuit Against Citimortgage, Inc. for Reckless Mortgage Lending Practices" (Press Release). U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. February 15, 2012. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/February12/citimortgageincsettlementpr.pdf. 
  43. ^ a b Sullum, Jacob (2011-04-20) Poker Bars, Reason
  44. ^ Hurtado, Patricia; Van Voris, Bob (April 15, 2011). rg.com/news/2011-04-15/internet-poker-entrepreneurs-charged-with-fraud-money-laundering-by-u-s-.html "Eleven Charged in Manhattan for Fraud in Online-Gambling Money Laundering". Bloomberg. http://www.bloombe rg.com/news/2011-04-15/internet-poker-entrepreneurs-charged-with-fraud-money-laundering-by-u-s-.html. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  45. ^ The Next Best Crooks New York Magazine, 10 April 2011
  46. ^ Why should anyone go to prison for helping people play cards? Reason Magazine, 24 April 2011
  47. ^ "Charlie Rose S20E230: Capitalism in Crisis". Charlie Rose. July 27, 2012. 
  48. ^ LulzSec Indictment http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/interactive/2012/mar/06/lulzsec-indictment-documents-prosecution-complaints
  49. ^ "Baby & Toddler Holiday Gifts - Toys, Clothes, More | Free Shipping". Diapers.com. http://www.diapers.com/aboutus/aboutus.aspx. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 

External links