By: States Attorney.
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Zachary A. Cunha
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island announces the stepping up of Zachary A. Cunha as the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official for the district. At the recommendation of U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, President Joseph R. Biden has nominated Attorney Zachary Cunha for the position on September 28, 2021. The United States Senate then confirmed his nomination on December 7, 2021. Six days later, on December 13, 2021, Zachary Cunha took the oath of office as the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island. The oath was administered by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell in the U.S. District Court. Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Anthony Cunha officially succeeds Attorney Richard B. Myrus. They previously served as the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island on an interim basis, following the resignation of former U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman effective February 28, 2021.
Table of Contents
- Educational Background and Bar and Court Admission
- Legal Career
- Early Legal Career
- Office of the Corporation Counsel – New York City Law Department
- U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and District of Massachusetts
- U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island
- Honors and Awards
- Most Significant Litigated Cases
- Office Jurisdiction
- Contact Details
- Rhode Island District Office
- Social Media Profiles
Educational Background and Bar and Court Admission
Graduating with honors, U.S. Attorney Zac Cunha received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in May 1998. A second time, U.S. Attorney Cunha, once again, graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School and received his Juris Doctorate in May 2001. Following his graduation from law school, Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha has received admission into several bars and courts, including in the New York State Bar Association and Massachusetts Bar Association, both in January 2002, as well as in the Rhode Island Bar Association in May 2008. U.S. Attorney Cunha has also been admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits in September 2008 and October 2005, respectively. In addition, he has been granted permission to practice law in the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York since February 2002. Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha was admitted into the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island in November 2011.
Early Legal Career
In his law school years, U.S. Attorney Cunha did several stints. From May to August 1999, Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Cunha worked as a Research Assistant to Professor Phillip Hamburger at George Washington University Law School. At the same time, he worked as a Legal Intern in the Office of Senator Jack Reed. From January to August of the following year, U.S. Attorney Cunha was a part of Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius, LLP as a Law Clerk in the firm’s Section of Complex & Commercial Litigation.
Office of the Corporation Counsel – New York City Law Department
After earning his Juris Doctorate, Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha joined the Office of the Corporation Counsel – New York City Law Department as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Special Federal Litigation Division of the office. In this capacity, the practice of U.S. Attorney Cunha consisted exclusively of civil litigation before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He acquired extensive experience in all aspects of litigation on behalf of the City of New York and its officials. He was also allowed to conduct four federal jury trials. U.S. Attorney Zac Cunha remained in this position for approximately four years, from September 2001 to February 2005, before joining the Justice Department
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and District of Massachusetts
In the next three years of his legal career, U.S. Attorney Cunha focused on serving as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. He was formally assigned to the office’s Civil Division upon his arrival in February 2005, until he was transferred in September 2008. Within the succeeding five years, from September 2008 to December 2013, Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha was designated as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Two years into his service in this office, he was named as the Deputy Chief of the office’s Affirmative Litigation Unit. In 2012, U.S. Attorney Cunha was promoted to Chief of the Affirmative Litigation Unit. As such, he became responsible for overseeing and managing the investigation and prosecution of cases involving civil health care fraud, customs fraud, pandemic-relief program fraud, procurement fraud, and other forms of fraud against the federal government.
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island
Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Cunha first transferred into the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island in December 2013. He was then assigned as the office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator, serving in this position for approximately four years, from 2014 to 2018. U.S. Attorney Cunha was later named the office’s Chief of Civil Division. He handled cases seeking recovery of civil penalties and damages under the False Claims Act while also collecting debts owed to the United States. Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha’s service in the three U.S. Attorney’s Office corresponded to 16 years of his legal career. He has since then been devoted to a primarily civil law practice, in which most of the cases he worked on involved affirmative and defensive litigation representing the United States government and its constituents.
Honors and Awards
A lawyer of two decades, U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha has spent the bulk of his career with the Department of Justice, recognizing his vital service in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices he was a part of. In December 2009, U.S. Attorney Cunha was honored with Special Commendation for Outstanding Service by the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In October 2010, he received the HHS Office of Inspector General Cooperative Achievement Award and the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service. In April 2020, he received the Hassenfeld Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship. In addition, Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Cunha has received various special commendations and recognitions from several agencies for case-related contributions. He was acclaimed by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2008, the Department of Interior in 2014, the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Education in 2017, and the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Transportation in 2017.
Most Significant Litigated Cases
In August of 2008, Top Federal Prosecutor Cunha was handed a case of multiple lawsuits brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act against the multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation – Pfizer, Inc. U.S. Attorney Cunha served as co-counsel in the case’s investigation, which involved nine separate lawsuits in three Districts. The case was resolved with a global settlement, in which Pfizer agreed to pay a total of $2.3 billion, resulting in it being deemed the most significant civil and criminal healthcare fraud recovery made by the United States at that time. It was in his well-known work during the investigation of the case against Pfizer that U.S. Attorney Cunha was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service in 2010. Apart from this, Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Cunha has handled various high-profile, complex litigations. In 2019, he began serving as sole counsel in a case that involved a trio of appeals. U.S. Attorney Zac Cunha defended the validity of a $136,000,000 criminal forfeiture judgment after three defendants sought to overturn the judgment and recover the funds forfeited concerning their laundering case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected these challenges. Top Federal Prosecutor Zachary Cunha is also known for handling lawsuits involving multiple parties and multiple claims. In 2018, he served as a co-counsel on a series of related investigations and prosecutions of several individuals and entities selling counterfeit military uniforms and goods. U.S. Attorney Cunha participated in the investigation and plea negotiations, which were involved in a parallel False Claims Act settlement. Ultimately, the United States government recovered approximately $1,000,000 via the settlements U.S. Attorney Cunha served in.
Upon appointment as Chief Federal Law Enforcement Official for the District of Rhode Island, U.S. Attorney Zachary Anthony Cunha becomes responsible for leading a staff of approximately 23 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and 26 support personnel. The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode is geared towards seeking justice on behalf of every district citizen through the impartial enforcement of federal law. As Top Federal Prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Cunha represents the United States in a variety of criminal caseloads, specifically those that involve complex drug and money laundering activities, complex financial institution fraud, computer fraud, environmental crime, financial crimes, health care fraud, public corruption, and organized crimes, among other criminal prosecution matters. Moreover, U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha initiates civil actions or affirmative litigations to assert and protect the interest of the United States.
Full Name: Zachary A. Cunha
District/State: Rhode Island
Public email ID: [email protected]
Rhode Island District Office
United States Attorney’s Office – District of Rhode Island
One Financial Plaza
Public Information Officer
Main [email protected]
Victim Assistance Coordinator
Social Media Profiles
Username: Zachary Cunha
Username: United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island
Username: US Attorney RI
Updated: May 8, 2023