Departing U.S. Attorney Creates Cybercrime Task Force

Deirdre Daly may be on her way out of office, but a new initiative is set to continue targeting online crimes in Connecticut.

by Edmund H. Mahony, The Hartford Courant / October 26, 2017

(TNS) -- NEW HAVEN, Conn. - U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly, who for more than years has targeted inner city violence and worked to strengthen law enforcement’s bond with the public, announced a new cybercrime initiative Tuesday while disclosing that she will leave office at week’s end, part of the continuing transition following the election of President Donald J. Trump.

She spoke at her offices with more than a dozen local, state and federal law enforcement officers who said they have formed a task force to better cooperate against complex, cyber or internet based crime.

“The broad reach of cyber criminals can be felt almost every day in Connecticut,” Daly said. “Day after day, we learn of companies, municipalities, educational institutions, hospitals, public utilities, nonprofits and citizens being targeted by bad actors.”

The law enforcement group will concentrate on two areas: Disruption of criminal organizations that steal money and information from business; and criminal activity transacted on what is known as the dark web, a generally inaccessible area on the internet used by criminals to traffic in drugs, guns and other contraband.

Daly will be replaced on an acting basis by Mike Gustafson of West Hartford, a federal prosecutor who has held a variety of line and supervisory positions since joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1997.

The Trump administration has not said when it will nominate Daly’s replacement. Whomever is nominated must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Daly’s office, armed with information collected by the FBI’s cybercrime unit, already has had success against computer crime. Her prosecutors charged a Nigerian who cracked the Glastonbury school system’s computer system and used stolen identities to file fraudulent federal tax returns. The prosecutors also, among other things, broke up group in New Britain that was buying whole sale quantities of narcotics through the dark net.

Daly, of Fairfield, had been expected to resign in March with about 45 other U.S. Attorneys, who are presidential appointees. She and the other Barack Obama-nominated prosecutors still in office were asked by the Justice Department to resign to make way for Trump appointees.

Trump made an exception for Daly and another prosecutor, allowing them to remain in office in order to become fully vested in the federal retirement program. Daly was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York before coming to Connecticut as deputy U.S. Attorney.

Obama nominated her in March 2014 to be the first woman to serve as Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney. On Friday, she will have been a federal prosecutor for 20 years.

As the state’s top federal law enforcement officer, Daly pressed for the convictions of the relatively small numbers of violent, urban drug gang members who she said are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of inner city violence. The tactic broke up violent gangs in north Hartford and resulted in convictions in a half dozen or so unsolved homicides. The successful prosecution of a single gang in New Haven led to convictions in seven cold case homicides.

Daly also focused her office on crimes against what she called “vulnerable” elements of society. She charged a dozen or more unscrupulous lawyers and financial advisers who swindled elderly clients and made sexual crimes against children, notably the trafficking of minors, a top priority.

©2017 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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