Governor Pataki, Attorney General Spitzer Announce New Leadership For State Organized Crime Task Force

Governor George E. Pataki and Attorney General Spitzer today announced key personnel changes at the State's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU).

The Governor and the Attorney General named a veteran criminal prosecutor, John Christopher Prather, as Deputy Attorney General In Charge of OCTF. Prather will succeed George Quinlan, who, after six years at the helm of OCTF, has assumed a new position as Assistant Deputy Attorney General in Charge of MFCU Regional Offices in Upstate New York.

Governor Pataki said, "Our Organized Crime Task Force and Medicaid Fraud Control Units are at the forefront of the fight to protect New Yorkers against fraud and increasingly sophisticated criminal enterprises. These two key appointments will strengthen the crimefighting and investigative activities of these two important units, which are dedicated to protecting all New Yorkers."

Attorney General Spitzer said, "Chris Prather and George Quinlan are consummate professionals. They bring stupendous skills, experience and energy to their new assignments."

Since 1999, Prather has served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the Department of Law, working closely with OCTF to prosecute drug and sophisticated crime rings operating in New York State. He served for 15 years in the New York County District Attorney's Office in the Career Criminal Prosecutions Bureau; as Senior Investigative Counsel in the Rackets Bureau where he prosecuted a groundbreaking enterprise corruption case charging organized crime figures with murder, loansharking, and extortion, and as Deputy Chief of the Frauds Bureau.

One of Prather's most significant accomplishments was the prosecution of a gang of narcotics dealers who shot a plainclothes detective. All defendants were convicted and the shooter was sentenced to 125 years to life.

Prather received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He will supervise an office of 55 attorneys and investigators charged with investigating and prosecuting multi-county, structured criminal enterprises, ranging from racketeering and extortion to drug trafficking and money laundering.

Quinlan has headed OCTF since 1996, and now will focus on leading investigations and fighting fraud within the largest Medicaid-funded health care system in the country.

Spitzer commended Quinlan for OCTF's achievements during his tenure including: the prosecution of John A. "Junior" Gotti in federal court; the pending indictment of alleged boss of the Gambino family Peter Gotti and 16 others for corruption on the New York waterfront; the prosecution of two dozen persons operating a professional shoplifting and fencing ring throughout 10 counties in upstate New York; and the arrests of hundreds of individuals, the seizure of thousands of kilos of cocaine and the forfeiture of millions of dollars in drug proceeds throughout New York State.

Quinlan is a Vietnam veteran and former police officer. Prior to joining the Department of Law, Quinlan served for 21 years in the Erie County District Attorney's Office, heading up the Investigations and Superior Court Trial Bureaus. He is a graduate of the University of Buffalo Law School.

Quinlan will supervise attorneys and investigators based in MFCU's offices in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and will oversee investigations of nursing homes, hospitals, and senior residences across upstate New York.