First he leaves At the Movies; now, he's no longer the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. As of tomorrow, Richard Roper's back in the private sector, working for Thompson & Knight, after four years spent as U.S. Attorney. Course, this was inevitable: Barack Obama will pick a new person for the job, and Roper, a President Bush appointee and a federal prosecutor for 21 years, figured it was better to jump now than get pushed later. Still, as recounted in the media release after the jump, his had been an impressive roll call of bold-faced cases since taking over the Northern District in '04, including those involving the Holy Land Foundation, Ruben Bohuchot and the Texas Syndicate. And you have no idea how hard it was not to run that picture of Don Hill again. --Robert Wilonsky
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION
Richard B. Roper Has Served As United States Attorney Since 2004
DALLAS - United States Attorney Richard B. Roper announced that he has tendered his resignation, effective tomorrow, as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, to President George W. Bush. Mr. Roper has served as United States Attorney since June 29, 2004.
"I wish to thank President Bush and Senators Hutchison and Cornyn for providing me the greatest professional experience and honor of my life. I am proud to have led the talented and dedicated professionals in this office in representing the United States and reducing crime in North Texas," said United States Attorney Roper.
As United States Attorney, Mr. Roper has directed some of the most high-profile and successful prosecutions in the country, including cases targeting international terrorism financing and exportation of sensitive technologies, public corruption, insider trading, tax,
securities, mortgage, corporate and health care fraud, human trafficking, and international drug trafficking.
Mr. Roper has served on six Attorney General Advisory committees including White Collar Fraud, Cyber/Intellectual property, Controlled Substances, Office of Management and Budget, Violent and Organized Crime and Child Exploitation and Obscenity. In addition, he served as the Co-Chair of the Department of Justice's Internet Pharmacy Working Group.
Locally, Mr. Roper is a member of the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and he was the Chair of HIDTA in 2006. He is the Co-Chair of the Fort Worth Neighborhood Policing Board and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory. He is a member of the Fort Worth Area Safe City Crime Commission and the North Texas Crime Commission. He also serves on the advisory boards for the Fort Worth Safe City Commission and several Weed and Seed sites including Pleasant Grove, Two-Points, Ferguson Road, West Dallas, South Dallas, Grand Prairie, and Southeast Forth Worth.
United States Attorney Roper received a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Justice for the Dallas/Fort Worth Anti-Gang Initiative to target those areas where gang activity was most predominant. Each area of the initiative's three-prong approach, enforcement, prevention, and re-entry, has been hugely successful. Statistics compiled by the University of Texas at Arlington show that gang-related arrests increased 82 percent, comparing data for the first six months of this year to the first six months of the initiative. To date, 2,469 youth have participated in the prevention program, with a 69 percent completion rate. Of that group, the number of youth who have offended or re-offended is zero. The study also shows a significant increase in school attendance by these youngsters. In the re-entry program, of the 320 ex-offenders referred to the program, 104 have remained employed for at least six months, and when 279 of them were tested for controlled substances, only six tested positive. Data further shows that gang-related aggravated assaults with a firearm are down 55 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the first six months of last year.
During his tenure, Mr. Roper's office prosecuted several significant cases that addressed some of the most significant issues of our time:
In U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, et al., the U.S. secured the conviction of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, and five of its leaders, on charges of providing material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. The defendants provided financial support to the families of Hamas martyrs, detainees, and activists knowing and intending that such assistance would support the Hamas terrorist organization. Since 1995, when it first became illegal to provide financial support to Hamas, HLF provided at least $12.4 million in funding. The jury also directed that the defendants forfeit $12.4 million in assets.
U.S. v. Johar Rakesh Saran, et al., was the largest internet pharmacy/drug trafficking case prosecuted in the U.S. The Saran Internet Drug Trafficking Organization distributed millions of dosage units of pharmaceutical drugs throughout the U.S. before being completely dismantled by the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Attorney's Office, the DEA, the FBI and the IRS. The investigation resulted in a 201-count indictment, as well as several related indictments, and the seizures of the more than $6 million in cash and more than $9 million in real estate. All defendants have been convicted and this prosecution led the way to change the way online pharmacies operate.
U.S. v. Don Hill, et al. In this Dallas City Hall public corruption case, a 31-count indictment charges 14 current and former public officials and their associates with various offenses related to a bribery and extortion scheme involving affordable housing developments in the Dallas area. After several years of investigation, the case was indicted by a federal grand jury in Dallas in October 2007; trial is set for April 2009.
U.S. v. Ruben Bohuchot, et al. During this bribery and money laundering trial involving the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in July 2008, a jury convicted the Chief Technology Officer, Ruben Bohuchot, and a Houston businessman, Frankie Wong, on all offenses related to their operation of a bribery and money laundering scheme involving DISD technology contracts. Bohuchot was sentenced to 11 years; Wong was sentenced to 10 years. They will have to forfeit $1.2 million.
U.S. v. Darron Banks, et al. Thirteen defendants were convicted and sentenced in this elaborate mortgage fraud scheme. Banks was sentenced to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.6 million restitution.
U.S. v. Donald L. Jones, et al. The key conspirator in this mortgage fraud scheme was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution. Another major conspirator was sentenced to 46 months. The offenses charged in the 17-count indictment involved 40 properties and more than 70 loans and the total amount of the fraud is approximately $14 million.
U.S. v. Eric Farrington, et al. Trial is set for April 2009 in this mortgage fraud case in which the 11 defendants ran an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme in the Dallas area that is outlined in a 51-count indictment. The lead defendant is a well-known Dallas businessman.
U.S. v. Roy Arredondo, Jr., et al. In this case, the Department of Justice's Anti-Gang initiative led to 21 members/associates of the Texas Syndicate (TS) prison gang being charged with racketeering and conspiring to participate in a violent enterprise responsible for murders, attempted murders, conspiracies to commit murder, robbery, drug trafficking and other crimes in North Texas and other areas. These TS defendants were responsible for 11 murders, numerous attempted murders, aggravated robberies, and large scale drug trafficking. Four unsolved murders were solved during this investigation. All defendants were convicted and have received lengthy prison sentences; Roy Arredondo, the leader of the Dallas TS, was sentenced to life in prison.
"Operation Fish Bowl" This initiative successfully shut down the drug distribution networks of various set of the Crips Street Gang operating a crack and powder cocaine distribution network in southeast Fort Worth. In mid-2006, 38 Crips Street Gang members/associates connected with the drug trafficking operations in the "Fish Bowl" area of Fort Worth were indicted. All were convicted, with several defendants receiving sentences in excess of 20 years. One defendant received a 60-year sentence. Investigators seized 29 weapons, including multiple assault rifles such as SKS assault rifles and AK 47s, shotguns and handguns, and approximately 276 grams of crack cocaine and 174 grams of black tar heroin during the course of the investigation.
Mr. Roper began his career as an Assistant District Attorney for Tarrant County after he earned his law degree with honors from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1982. In 1987, he was appointed an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. During his more than 25-year career, Mr. Roper personally prosecuted more than 150 jury trials involving a broad range of matters from major white collar crime, including tax, bank, and health care fraud, to narcotics and money laundering matters, to capital murder. He successfully prosecuted two federal death penalty jury trials as lead counsel.
Mr. Roper will be joining a major law firm in the area as a law partner.
Upon Mr. Roper's departure, First Assistant United States Attorney James T. Jacks will be appointed Acting United States Attorney, until a new United States Attorney is selected by the new administration.