Connecticut US Attorney’s Office Celebrates US Attorney’s Awards | USAO-CT

The United States Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony was celebrated this afternoon in New Haven. The ceremony at the City of New Haven Chambers of Aldermen honored approximately 190 individuals for their investigative efforts and other contributions to 30 significant federal criminal prosecutions and civil cases in Connecticut since 2019. The awards ceremony, usually an annual event, has not taken place since 2019. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought much of the world to a standstill, the honorees we honor today, and countless other members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, have found a way to continue their essential work, often at great risk to their health and safety, to ensure that the wheels of justice never stop turning,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery. “Their important work has had a positive impact on communities across our state. They have served Connecticut and our nation with distinction, and we are proud to call them “partners.”

In addition to the criminal and civil cases awards, U.S. Attorney Avery presented several special awards at the ceremony.

The U.S. Attorney’s Award for Outstanding Investigator was presented to recently retired Special Agent James Wines of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who distinguished himself as an invaluable criminal investigator with the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Team ( “CAST”). Special Agent Wines has provided critical analysis of cell sites and testimony in numerous federal and state investigations and prosecutions, including 28 murder trials in Connecticut and neighboring states.

The U.S. Attorney’s Award for Outstanding Partnership went to supervising attorney Patrick Ward and senior attorneys Robert Ziemiecki and Stephanie Scannell-Vessella of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Attorneys Ward, Ziemicki, and Scannell-Vessella worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to defend litigation, including an 850-member class action lawsuit, brought by medically vulnerable inmates at FCI Danbury during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.

The U.S. Attorney’s Outstanding Community Award was presented to Stacy Spell for her superior service as project manager of New Haven Project Longevity, a statewide group violence reduction initiative, and her past work as a longtime member of the New Haven Police Department and as a community activist.

The Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit Award was presented to a team of investigators from the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) whose work resulted in the successful prosecution of Farouq Fasasi and several Connecticut associates who were involved in lottery scams and romance scams that defrauded primarily elderly victims across the country for over $5 million. Fasasi and five others were found guilty of various charges stemming from the schemes, and in August 2022 Fasasi was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The Major Crimes Unit award was given to members of the Groton City Police Department, FBI and Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), who jointly investigated Randall Tilton, a mechanic of the United States Navy who sexually abused seven infants and children over an eight-year period. , and produced videos and images of his sexual abuse. In June 2021, Tilton was sentenced to 210 years in prison.

The Violent Crimes and Narcotics Unit award was presented to an FBI Special Agent and FBI Task Force agents from the New Haven Police Department and the Milford Police Department who led “Operation Fantasy Island,” an investigation by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF) targeting members and associates of the Island Brothers gang. The Island Brothers trafficked heroin, crack cocaine, and cocaine in both the New Haven area and the Fitchburg, Massachusetts area, and engaged in violence to protect their territory. Twenty-five people were convicted of various drug and firearms offenses as a result of the investigation.

The United States Attorney’s Office is responsible for enforcing federal criminal laws in Connecticut and representing the federal government in civil litigation. The Bureau is made up of approximately 68 assistant U.S. attorneys and 57 staff in offices in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford.

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