Summary

As a member of Taft’s Corporate Compliance and White Collar Criminal Defense practice since 2021, Pete brings clients extensive national experience in white collar criminal litigation and corporate compliance, gained from years leading complex business investigations and from serving on the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee for White Collar Fraud.

He most recently served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, with a career spanning 22 years as a federal prosecutor.

Pete’s client work is distinguished by his ability to navigate through complex investigations and prosecutions. He has led numerous federal prosecutions, including high profile matters relating to:

  • White collar crime
  • Banking and business crime
  • Financial fraud
  • Police misconduct
  • Child exploitation

Pete brings uncommon litigation experience to bear on behalf of his clients, having tried 22 cases to jury verdict in federal courtrooms across the Midwest and having argued more than 33 cases in the federal courts of appeal.

Pete’s career as a federal prosecutor began in 1998 as an Assistant to the Iowa Attorney General specially assigned to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute methamphetamine manufacturers and traffickers.  In 1999, as an Assistant United States Attorney, he began prosecuting a full range of federal criminal cases from narcotics and violent crime to complex fraud, child sexual exploitation, and business crimes.

From 2004 to 2006, Peter served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit where he prosecuted increasingly complex matters including alien smuggling, medical device smuggling, and financial fraud. He also successfully tried a Detroit police detective and his brother for bank robbery conspiracy.

After returning to Iowa in 2006, Pete focused on complex fraud and business crimes.  He prosecuted the two largest financial fraud cases in the history of the district, including a $215 million fraud committed by the owner of Peregrine Financial Group, Inc.  Pete also co-led the investigation of the largest criminal immigration enforcement action in U.S. history and the subsequent prosecutions of several company managers for harboring-related offenses and a $26 million bank fraud.  Pete led the investigation and prosecution of Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and public corruption crimes related to the largest food-borne salmonella outbreak in the nation’s history, resulting in prison sentences for two top corporate officials under the Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine.  He also prosecuted several child sexual predators, including a Chicago-area police officer for sexually abusing more than a dozen boys in the greater Chicago region.

From the beginning of 2015 until his confirmation as United States Attorney in September of 2017, Pete served as the Chief of the Criminal Division in the Northern District of Iowa, supervising all criminal prosecutions in the district.  These included cases involving arms smuggling to Hezbollah in Lebanon, theft of trade secrets from a Fortune 100 company, immigration fraud by a perpetrator of the Rwandan genocide, threats to a United States Senator, and the largest organic certification fraud in U.S. history involving over $100 million in grain.

As United States Attorney, Pete directed additional civil resources to False Claims Act enforcement, making the district a favored venue for Qui Tam filings.  This resulted in a dramatic increase in recoveries for taxpayers, particularly from hospitals, care facilities, medical equipment suppliers, and other healthcare providers.  Pete also focused criminal resources on gun crime, cartel-linked methamphetamine sources, the opioid epidemic and financial crimes targeting the elderly. 

Pete served in leadership and advisory positions at the national level.  He chaired the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Management and Performance and served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee for White Collar Fraud, the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee for Native American Issues, and the Deputy Attorney General’s Privilege Review Working Group. 

Awards

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Special Commendation for Outstanding Service in the Civil Division (2015)

  • Council of the Inspectors General, Gaston L. Gianni, Jr. Better Government Award (2015)

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, Award for Distinguished Service (2015)

  • U.S. Department of Justice, Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team (2014)

  • United States Department of Agriculture, Honor Award for Excellence (2010)

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations, Special Recognition Award (2010)

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation, Certificate of Recognition (2010)

All Service Areas

Education

  • Wayne State University Law School (1995)
  • University of Notre Dame (1992)

    Philosophy with a concentration in Middle East studies

Admissions

  • State - Illinois
  • State - Iowa
  • State - Michigan

Notable Matters

  • Quality Egg/DeCoster – led criminal investigation into largest foodborne Salmonella Enteritis outbreak in U.S. history and prosecution of public corruption and Responsible Corporate Officer (Park liability) offenses by top company officials.
  • Peregrine Financial Group/Wasendorf – led criminal investigation and prosecution of $215 million fraud by owner and Chief Executive Officer of Futures Commission Merchant leading to 50-year federal sentence.
  • Agriprocessors/Rubashkin – co-led largest criminal worksite enforcement investigation in U.S. history and related harboring and bank fraud investigation leading to felony convictions for more than 300 employees, several supervisors, Human Resources Officer, Controller, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Hancher – prosecution of multi-million-dollar wire and securities fraud committed by investment broker promoting plans to take one company public through a stock offering and another company private through a stock buyback.
  • Hoffert – prosecution of real-estate broker for stealing mortgage loan proceeds and failing to pay off prior mortgage loans.
  • Plower – investigation and prosecution of law enforcement officer for scheme to defraud insurance company by setting fire to insured property leading to 13-year federal sentence.
  • Kinseth – prosecution of investment broker for Ponzi scheme targeting multiple victims – including a paraplegic and a member of the clergy – and resulting in more than four years in federal prison.

Speeches and Publications

Financial Services and Bank Secrecy Act

IRS / Iowa Special Enforcement Operations Bureau Training for Gaming Organizations, Dubuque, Iowa

  • Sports Book/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance remarks (2019)

Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on White Collar Fraud, Los Angeles, California

  • Suspicious Activity Reports Best Practices panel (2019)

Northeast Iowa Bank Security Training, Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa

  • Suspicious Activity Reports and Financial Crimes presentation (2016)

Iowa Bankers Association Two-Day BSA/AML Compliance School, Des Moines, Iowa

  • Federal Financial Crimes presentation (2015)

Risk Management Association Eastern Iowa Chapter, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Financial Institution Fraud presentation (2011)

Institute of Internal Auditors Heartland-Iowa Chapter, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Business Fraud and Referrals for Federal Prosecution presentation (2011)

Food Safety

Faegre Food and Ag Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Food Safety panel (2016)

ABA Food and Device Conference, Omaha, Nebraska

  • Food Safety panel (2015)

Employment-Related Immigration

U.S. Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina

  • Border Security Conference, Worksite Enforcement Issues panel (2018)
  • Criminal Immigration Seminar case study (2010, 2011)
  • Employment Related Immigration Crimes Seminar case study (2009)

Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Border and Immigration Issues

  • Worksite Enforcement Best Practices presentation (2018)

Homeland Security Investigations Supervisor School, Glynco, Georgia

  • Worksite Enforcement Prosecutions for HSI Supervisors presentation (2018)

Publication: 2013 revisions and updates to Chapter 12 of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Education, Immigration Manual (Civil and Criminal Remedies for Illegal Employment of Aliens)

White Collar Investigations

U.S. Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina

  • Filter Review Team Guidance panel (2020 Webinar)

 University of Iowa Law School, Iowa City, Iowa

  • Adjunct Faculty, Federal White Collar Crime Course (Spring 2016)

Mt. Mercy University Criminal Justice Program, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • White Collar Crime panel (2016)

Kaplan University White Collar Crime Course, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Business Fraud and Federal Prosecution guest lecture (2011)

Author, “Elder Financial Fraud Schemes: The Case for Federal Investigation and Prosecution,” 66 DOJ J. FED. L. & PRAC., no. 7, 2018

Trial Advocacy

U.S. Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina

  • Visiting Faculty, Basic Criminal Trial Advocacy Course (2005 to 2020)
  • Jury Trials during COVID-19 Pandemic panel (2020 Webinar)

University of Notre Dame Law School, Notre Dame, Indiana

  • Visiting Faculty, Intensive Trial Advocacy Course (annually since 2017)

Lawyers Without Borders

  • Virtual Trial Advocacy Trainer for Kenyan Prosecutors (2021)

Professional Affiliations

  • Linn County Iowa Bar Association
  • Northern District of Iowa Historical Society
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys
  • American Bar Association

    Member, Criminal Law Section

Community Involvement

  • Iowa Donor Network, North Liberty, Iowa

    Volunteer presenter

  • 100+ People Who Care, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Past Board of Education Member
    Past Board of Education President
    Past Co-chairperson, Capital Campaign Committee

  • Notre Dame Club of Cedar Rapids/Iowa City

    Past Admissions Volunteer Coordinator