Queens DA’s office launches new Major Economic Crimes Bureau

Photo by Mark Hallum

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the creation of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau in her newly reorganized Investigations Division. The new bureau combines the former Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau with components of the former Economic Crimes Bureau.

This new crime-fighting team will investigate and prosecute a broad array of large-scale financial crimes that often fuel dangerous criminal enterprises in the borough. The Major Economic Crimes Bureau will target organized groups engaging in check-cashing and credit card fraud, fishing and identity theft schemes, auto theft rings, gambling, and loan sharking operations, as well as dismantling medical mills.

The bureau will collaborate with a variety of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, often in combination, to achieve these ends. These investigations will utilize sophisticated crime-fighting strategies, such as wiretapping and location data, and make use of New York’s Enterprise Corruption statute where appropriate.

“When I became your District Attorney, I set out to reorganize the Office to better serve the needs of our communities,” Katz said. “At the helm of this new and modernized Major Economic Crimes Bureau will be a veteran prosecutor with a wealth of experience fighting on behalf of the people of Queens County.”

The DA appointed Assistant District Attorney Mary Lowenburg to lead the bureau. Throughout her 22-year career, Chief Lowenburg has investigated and prosecuted numerous Queens-based criminal organizations engaging in crimes ranging from organized auto crime, larceny, and identity theft schemes to narcotics and firearms trafficking operations.

As part of her vision for the future, Katz says she has implemented a comprehensive approach to crime-fighting with the knowledge that economic crimes frequently have ties to violent criminal organizations that pose a threat to the community. To that end, the Major Economic Crimes Bureau will work closely with the District Attorney’s Violent Crimes Enterprises Bureau, as well as other bureaus, in a collaborative partnership to fully dismantle criminal organizations operating in Queens.