Lanny A. Breuer is leaving the Justice Department after leading the agency’s efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation’s largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter.
As one of the longest-serving heads of the criminal division, Breuer has had a tenure filled with controversy and high-profile prosecutions. He was admonished for his role in the agency’s botched attempt to infiltrate weapons-smuggling rings in the operation dubbed “Fast and Furious.” And he has been accused of being soft on Wall Street for failing to throw senior bank executives behind bars for their role in the financial crisis.
Yet Breuer is widely credited with aggressively going after white-collar crime in the aftermath of the crisis. He also stepped up the division’s involvement in money-laundering cases, launching a series of criminal investigations that have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements.
It is not clear when Breuer intends to leave his post, nor what he plans to do once he departs, but it is certain that the prosecutor’s days in office are winding down, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.