|Birth Day:||October 13, 1968|
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He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1990. He subsequently graduated with his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was a regular contributor to the prestigious Columbia Law Review.
Bharara was born in 1968 in Firozpur, Punjab, India, to a Sikh father and Hindu mother. His parents immigrated to the United States in 1970 and Bharara became a U.S. citizen aged 12. He grew up in Eatontown in suburban Monmouth County, New Jersey and attended Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1986. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1990 and a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School in 1993 where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review.
Bharara became a naturalized United States citizen in 1980. Bharara is a registered Democrat but "not considered a strong partisan." His nomination to the U.S. Attorney's post in 2009 was welcomed across the political spectrum as Bharara was regarded as an "apolitical and fair-minded" figure.
In 1993, Bharara joined the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as a litigation associate. In 1996, Bharara joined the firm of Shereff, Friedman, Hoffman & Goodman, where he did white-collar defense work. Bharara served as the chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer and played a leading role in the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary investigation into the firings of United States attorneys. He was an assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan for five years, from 2004 to 2009, bringing criminal cases against the bosses of the Gambino crime family, Colombo crime family and Asian gangs in New York City.
Bharara was nominated to become U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama on May 15, 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He was sworn into the position on August 13, 2009. In September 2014, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to step down, Bharara was speculated as being a potential candidate as the next United States Attorney General.
From 2009 to 2014, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has convicted more than 1,000 of approximately 1,300 people charged in 52 large-scale takedowns of street drug and drug trafficking organizations. On lowering violent crime rates, Bharara has said, "You can measure the number of people arrested and the number of shootings, but success is when you lift the sense of intimidation and fear." Bharara also oversaw the largest criminal sweep of gangs in Newburgh, New York, working with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies to bring charges against members of the Newburgh Bloods and Newburgh Latin Kings gangs, among others. In 2010, Bharara oversaw the prosecution of eight longshoremen on charges of participation in a multimillion-dollar cocaine trafficking enterprise along the Waterfront, operated by a Panamanian drug organization.
Bharara's younger brother Vinit "Vinnie" Bharara, also a graduate of Columbia Law School, is an entrepreneur. Vinnie Bharara and Marc Lore co-founded Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com and Soap.com, which they sold in 2010 to Amazon.com for $540 million.
In 2011 when hedge fund portfolio manager Chip Skowron pleaded guilty to insider trading, Bharara said: "Chip Skowron is the latest example of a portfolio manager willing to pay for proprietary, non-public information that gave him an illegal trading edge over the average investor. The integrity of our market is damaged by people who engage in insider trading...." Skowron was sent to prison for five years. Bharara has often spoken publicly and written an op-ed about the culture surrounding corporate crime and its effect on market confidence and business risk.
In January 2011, Bharara's office participated in a multi-state organized crime takedown, charging 26 members of the Gambino crime family with racketeering and murder, as well as narcotics and firearms charges. This action was part of a coordinated effort that also involved arrests in Brooklyn; Newark, New Jersey, and Providence, Rhode Island; according to the FBI, this was the largest single-day operation against the Mafia in U.S. history. In August 2016, Bharara's office charged 46 leaders, members, and associates of La Cosa Nostra—including four out of the Five Families (Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, and Bonanno)—in an extensive racketeering conspiracy.
Bharara moved to shut down several of the world's largest Internet poker companies. He prosecuted several payment processors for Internet poker companies, securing guilty pleas for money laundering. In April 2011, Bharara charged 11 founding members of internet gambling companies and their associates involved with pay processing with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). The case is United States v. Scheinberg.
In 2012, Bharara was featured on a cover of Time magazine entitled "This Man is Busting Wall Street" for his office's prosecutions of insider trading and other financial fraud on Wall Street. From 2009 to 2012 (and ongoing), Bharara's office oversaw the Galleon Group insider trading investigation against Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta, Anil Kumar and more than 60 others. Rajaratnam was convicted at trial on 14 counts related to insider trading. Bharara is said to have "reaffirmed his office’s leading role in pursuing corporate crime with this landmark insider trading case, which relied on aggressive prosecutorial methods and unprecedented tactics."
Citibank was charged numerous times by Bharara's office and other federal prosecutors. In 2012, the bank reached a settlement with Bharara's office to pay $158 million for misleading the government into insuring risky loans. Bharara also made a criminal inquiry into Citbank's Mexican Unit. In 2014, Citi settled with federal prosecutors for $7 billion for ignoring warnings on risky loans.
In 2012, federal prosecutors under Bharara sued Bank of America for $1 billion, accusing the bank of carrying out a mortgage scheme that defrauded the government during the depths of the financial crisis. In 2013, the jury found Bank of America liable for selling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of defective loans in the first mortgage-fraud case brought by the U.S. government to go to trial. The civil verdict also found the bank’s Countrywide Financial unit and former Countrywide executive Rebecca Mairone liable. However, in 2016 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the finding of fact by the jury that low-quality mortgages were supplied by Countrywide to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac supported only "intentional breach of contract," not fraud. The action, for civil fraud, relied on provisions of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. The decision turned on lack of intent to defraud at the time the contract to supply mortgages was made.
Bharara has said that "there is no prosecutor’s office in the state that takes more seriously the responsibility to root out public corruption in Albany and anywhere else that we might find it, and I think our record speaks for itself." During his tenure, Bharara has charged several current and former elected officials in public corruption cases, including Senator Vincent Leibell, Senator Hiram Monserrate, NYC Councilman Larry Seabrook, and Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi. Bharara’s office uncovered an alleged corruption ring involving New York State Senator Carl Kruger. In April 2012, Kruger was sentenced to seven years in prison. In February 2011, Bharara announced the indictment of five consultants working on New York City’s electronic payroll and timekeeping project, CityTime, for misappropriating more than $80 million from the project. The investigation has expanded with five additional defendants being charged, including a consultant who allegedly received more than $5 million in illegal kickbacks on the projects.
In June 2012, The New York Times published an op-ed written by Bharara about the threat posed to private industry by cybercrime and encouraged corporate leaders to take preventive measures and create contingency plans.
In 2012, Bharara was named by Time magazine as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World," and by India Abroad as its 2011 Person of the Year.
On April 13, 2013, Bharara was on a list released by the Russian Federation of Americans banned from entering the country over their alleged human rights violations. The list was a direct response to the so-called Magnitsky list revealed by the United States the day before.
In 2013, Bharara announced criminal and civil charges against one of the largest and most successful hedge-fund firms in the United States, SAC Capital Advisors LP, and its founder Steven A. Cohen. At USD$1.8 billion, it was the largest settlement ever for insider trading, and the firm also agreed to close down.
In 2013, Bharara began investigating a money laundering fraud scheme in New York City operated by a Russian criminal organization. The alleged fraud links a $230 million Russian tax refund fraud scheme from 2008 to eleven U.S. real estate corporations. The underlying tax refund fraud was first discovered by whistleblower and Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested under tax evasion charges, and within a year he was found dead in his prison cell—a suspicious circumstance. Bharara and his office stated that some of the illicit proceeds were laundered in the U.S. by purchasing luxury Manhattan and Brooklyn real estate, including a 35-story block that has a pool, roof terrace, Turkish bath and indoor golf course. One of the companies named in the complaint, Prevezon, at the time had assets that included four condo units in the Financial District, each valued close to or in excess of $1 million, a $4.4-million condo at 250 East 49th Street in Turtle Bay, and an unknown amount of funds on deposit in eight separate Bank of America accounts in the name of different limited-liability companies registered in New York.
In April 2013, Bharara gave the authorization to the FBI for the raid on Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov's apartment in Trump Tower.
In April 2013, the case was personal for Bharara after Russia included him on the list 18 U.S. individuals banned from entering Russia in retaliation to the Magnitsky act.
On September 10, 2013, with help from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Cyrus Vance Jr., the District Attorney for New York County, Bharara's office announced that they had filed a civil forfeiture complaint, freezing $24 million in assets. If the court upholds the complaint, the government will seize the assets.
In early 2013, Bharara oversaw the conviction of New York City Police Department officer Gilberto Valle, who was part of an alleged plot to rape and then cook and eat (cannibalize) women. Bharara and his team argued that Valle had done more than hypothesize, think, or speculate (in online networks where such fantasies are discussed), but had moved on from being a possible danger to others to the criminal planning phase and had even visited the street where one of the women lived, at the behest of another defendant. However, the defense and others who objected to the verdict argued that all he had done was fantasize, not plan, and that such thoughts or online posts, however twisted, were still protected. The defense team (Robert Baum and Julia L. Gatto) may ask the judge to set aside the verdict, or may appeal. If he does keep the felony conviction and is sentenced, Valle would automatically no longer serve in law enforcement.
On April 2, 2013, Bharara unsealed federal corruption charges against New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, New York City Councilman Dan Halloran and several other Republican party officials. The federal complaint alleged that Smith attempted to secure a spot on the Republican ballot in the 2013 New York City mayoral election through bribery.
Bharara and his office came to the limelight again in December 2013 with the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy Consul General of India in New York, who was accused by prosecutors of submitting false work visa documents for her housekeeper and paying the housekeeper "far less than the minimum legal wage." The ensuing incident caused protests from the Indian government and a rift in India–United States relations; Indians expressed outrage that Khobragade was strip-searched (a routine practice for all U.S. Marshals Service arrestees) and held in the general inmate population. The Indian government retaliated for what it viewed as the mistreatment of its consular official by revoking the ID cards and other privileges of U.S. consular personnel and their families in India and removing security barriers in front of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
In 2013, Bharara delivered the commencement address at Fordham Law School in New York and received an honorary Doctor of Laws. Later that week, Bharara delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, Columbia Law School, during his 20th reunion year. In 2014, Bharara delivered the commencement address at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law also in New York and spoke at Harvard Law School's Class Day Ceremony. In 2018, Bharara delivered the commencement address at St. John's University School of Law in New York.
After 85 straight convictions for insider-trading cases, he finally lost one on July 17, 2014, when a jury acquitted Rajaratnam's younger brother, Rengan, of such charges.
His office also handled the criminal prosecutions of several employees at Madoff’s firm and their associates, who were convicted by a jury on March 24, 2014.
In March 2014, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Toyota by information with one count of wire fraud for lying to consumers about two safety-related issues in the company’s cars, each of which caused unintended acceleration. Under the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that Toyota entered into the same day the information was filed, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2-billion financial penalty, the largest criminal penalty ever imposed on an auto manufacturer. The company also admitted the truth of a detailed statement of facts accompanying the DPA, and agreed to submit to a three-year monitorship.
In 2014, Bharara's office began an inquiry into Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to end the work of the Moreland Commission, an anticorruption panel. After a New York Times report documenting Cuomo's staff's involvement with the commission and subsequent statements by commissioners defending the Governor, Bharara warned of obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Under Bharara, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York "won a string of major terrorism trials." Bharara was an advocate of trying terrorists in civilian federal courts rather than in the military commissions at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; he contrasted his office's record of successfully convicting terrorists with the lengthy, secretive, and inefficient Guantanamo practice. In a 2014 interview, Bharara said the historical record would show that "greater transparency and openness and legitimacy" leads to "more serious and appropriate punishment." Citing his success in terrorism trials, Bharara stated: "These trials have been difficult, but they have been fair and open and prompt...in an American civilian courtroom, the American people and all the victims of terrorism can be vindicated without sacrificing our principles."
Khobragade was subject to prosecution at the time of her arrest because she had only consular immunity (which gives one immunity from prosecution only for acts committed in connection with official duties) and not the more extensive diplomatic immunity. After her arrest, the Indian government moved Khobragade to the Indian's mission to the United Nations, upgrading her status and conferring diplomatic immunity on her; as a result, the federal indictment against Khobragade was dismissed in March 2014, although the door was left open to refiling of charges. A new indictment was filed against Khobragade, but by that point she had left the country.
On October 22, 2015, Bharara dropped seven insider-trading cases two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to a review a lower court decision that would make it harder to pursue wrongful-trading cases. The conviction of Michael S. Steinberg was dropped; Steinberg was the highest-ranking officer of SAC Capital Advisors who had previously been convicted of insider trading.
Bharara made national headlines after investigating 11-term Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver for taking millions of dollars in payoffs, leading to Silver's arrest in January 2015. Silver was subsequently convicted on all counts, triggering his automatic expulsion from the Assembly. Silver was replaced by the first African-American speaker Carl Heastie. During the Silver prosecution, Judge Valerie Caproni criticized Bharara's public statements, writing that "while castigating politicians in Albany for playing fast and loose with the ethical rules that govern their conduct, Bharara strayed so close to the edge of the rules governing his own conduct."
During Bharara's term, the U.S. Attorney's Office investigated six Internet comments made on the website of Reason magazine in which anonymous readers made comments about U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the Southern District of New York like "Its [sic] judges like these that should be taken out back and shot" and "Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly." (The comments were made under an article in the magazine of Forrest's sentencing of Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht to life in prison without parole.) In June 2015, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena to the libertarian magazine, demanding that it provide identifying information for the commenters. Following the issuance of the subpoena, federal prosecutors applied for an order from a U.S. magistrate judge forbidding the magazine from disclosing the existence of the subpoena to the commenters.
At a news conference on September 7, 2016 following the arrests of Shimen Liebowitz and Aharon Goldberg, 2 rabbis implicated in the Kiryas Joel murder conspiracy, Bharara called it a "chilling plot," wherein the plotters "met repeatedly to plan the kidnapping and to pay more than $55,000 to an individual they believed would carry it out." The rabbis were convicted and sentenced to prison in 2017.
Following the 2016 election, Bharara met with then-president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in November 2016. Bharara said that Trump asked him to remain as U.S. Attorney, and he agreed to stay on.
On March 10, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered all 46 remaining United States Attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration, including Bharara, to submit letters of resignation. Bharara declined to resign and was fired the next day. In a statement, Bharara said that serving as U.S. Attorney was "the greatest honor of my professional life" and that "one hallmark of justice is absolute independence and that was my touchstone every day that I served." He was succeeded by his deputy, Joon Kim, as acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
It has been reported that in spring 2017, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz told associates that he had been personally responsible for getting Bharara fired, saying he had warned Trump, "This guy is going to get you." Bharara said that he was dismissed 22 hours after refusing to take a phone call from Trump.
On April 1, 2017, Bharara joined New York University School of Law as a distinguished scholar in residence. In September 2017 he started a weekly podcast called "Stay Tuned with Preet", which features long-form interviews with prominent guests. In 2018, Bharara started a second podcast with former New Jersey Attorney General and fellow law professor Anne Milgram, "Cafe Insider", which also provides legal commentary on the latest news.
Preet shares three children with his wife Dalya. Preet's younger brother Vinit is a successful entrepreneur.
Currently, Preet Bharara is 53 years, 9 months and 26 days old. Preet Bharara will celebrate 54th birthday on a Thursday 13th of October 2022. Below we countdown to Preet Bharara upcoming birthday.