The Department of Justice recently presented Richard Elias with the 2013 Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney. Elias received the award in recognition of his central role in the “Moonlight Fire Case” that led to the largest-ever recovery by the United States for destruction of federal public land by fire. The settlement was valued at $125 million.
In a letter of commendation accompanying the award, Attorney General Eric Holder thanked Elias for his “exceptional efforts to promote the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” Rich’s dedication to the case led to a $55 million settlement in money damages, plus conveyance of 22,500 acres of woodland in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for incorporation into the National Forest System. His efforts also hastened the restoration of 46,000 acres in U.S. National Forests that were damaged by negligently-ignited fires.
The Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, H. Marshall Jarrett, also commended Rich: “Your commitment to excellence and dedication to serving justice have contributed immeasurably to the mission of the Department of Justice and to our great Nation.”