Spotlight shines on U.S. attorney

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U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade has received Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women’s prestigious Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award in honor of her professional achievements.

The honor is presented annually to a distinguished alumna of Pi Beta Phi who exhibits “excellence and outstanding leadership in her career or volunteer service to her community.” 

The award is named in honor of past Pi Beta Phi president Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, who was instrumental in forming the Pi Beta Phi Foundation during her term from 1985-91. 

The foundation supports leadership development programs and literacy initiatives.

“This award honors my work to combat public corruption and protect civil rights,” McQuade said. “Public corruption is harmful because it erodes trust in government and cheats taxpayers out of honest services to which they are entitled. Civil rights are important because they are an essential part of our nation’s promise of equal justice under law.”

McQuade graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and economics. In 1991, she earned her law degree from U-M, graduating cum laude. 

After law school, Barbara worked as an attorney in the private sector. She also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

McQuade then held several positions within the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, which serves 6.5 million people living in the eastern half of Michigan’s lower peninsula. She served as Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Counter-Terrorism Unit.

In 2010, McQuade was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District by President Barack Obama, becoming first woman to serve in the capacity. 

Upon assuming her new role, she helped restructure the U.S. Attorney’s Office to better align talent with priorities and formed a task force to reduce violent crime and improve
community relations. 

McQuade’s career accomplishments include the prosecution of an Al-Qaeda operative, referred to as the “Underwear Bomber,” who attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear while onboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009. 

Her office also prosecuted former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and more than 30 of his associates on charges of public corruption and bribery. 

In a story that made national news during McQuade’s tenure, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit also tried and convicted an Oakland County doctor, Farid Fata, of fraudulently
billing Medicare for unnecessary cancer treatments he prescribed for hundreds of patients.

Her office also is currently handling a corruption probe into alleged kickbacks by a local trash hauler (Rizzo Environmental Services) to a number of politicians in Macomb County.

A native of Sterling Heights, McQuade was named a “Michiganian of the Year” by The Detroit News in 2013. 

In 2015, she received a “Shining Light Award” from The Detroit Free Press in honor of her exemplary regional leadership. 

Besides being a dedicated public servant, McQuade is a wife and mother of four children.
 

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