Special Tribute

The Office of the Inspector General depends upon the assistance of other Department of Justice components and employees for its successes. We would like to take this opportunity to honor the participants in a multi-agency effort who have had a special impact on our work.

The participants of the team approach were Albert Moskowitz, Civil Rights Division; Robert Walsh, FBI; JoAnn Abeyta, OIG; Edward Weiner, Assistant U.S. Attorney; Daniel Soto, OIG; Amalia Meza, Deputy U.S. Attorney; Phillip Bergener, FBI; Ralph Paige, OIG.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice have made the enforcement of Civil Rights laws along the Southwest Border a priority. Under the leadership of Alan Bersin, United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, the OIG, the Civil Rights Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have used the team approach to civil rights enforcement in the San Diego border area of southern California. In the Southern District of California, the OIG and the FBI jointly investigate for criminal prosecution civil rights matters involving Department of Justice employees.

In one use of this approach, an Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector was convicted on bribery and civil rights charges in San Diego. The investigation found evidence that the inspector had used his position of authority to extort sexual favors and to sexually abuse at least eight female aliens. He was a "special cases officer," whose job it was to decide appeals of foreign nationals seeking to reclaim vital immigration documents and who were therefore particularly vulnerable.

The principal investigators were OIG Special Agents JoAnn Abeyta and Daniel Soto, and FBI Special Agent Phillip Bergener. The lead prosecutors were Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Weiner, Southern District of California, and Trial Attorney Jim Upton Oliver, Jr., Civil Rights Division. The investigation lasted over a year, and the coordination, dedication, and professionalism displayed by team members are a credit to their respective agencies and the Department. This multi-agency approach to civil rights enforcement has been successful because of the atmosphere of cooperation and partnership fostered by those involved.