Marquis Austin

On Tuesday, March 16, Prep School students and faculty learned about the daily proceedings of a federal prosecutor during a fascinating discussion with Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Fayer. A federal prosecutor’s primary duty, as Mr. Fayer explained, is to represent the U.S. in cases involving violations of federal law, an honor that gives him chills just thinking about and one he does not take lightly. He also enjoys the theatrical elements that come along with his job. Growing up, the Georgetown University and New York University School of Law alumnus was fond of theater and said a courtroom shares a lot in common with a stage. He drew parallels between a prosecutor convincing a jury that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a director putting on a play, describing how both roles consist of mapping out the most effective way to tell a story to an audience.

As an AUSA in the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Mr. Fayer investigates and prosecutes acts of financial fraud, which boil down to one party lying to another to obtain money. These crimes take many shapes, ranging from investment fraud schemes to fraud against federally insured financial institutions, and often begin with a victim telling the FBI someone defrauded them or a whistleblower alleging their company is cooking the books. Mr. Fayer walked the Prep School attendees through an informative step-by-step breakdown of how his office and the FBI proceed once allegations of fraud have been brought to their attention. He revealed that many of their cases never actually go to trial, as a majority of defrauders plead out. 

During an enlightening Q&A, Mr. Fayer touched on various legal topics, including the criminal mind, scammers leveraging dating apps to their advantage and one particularly topical issue—how criminals have exploited the country’s vulnerability throughout the pandemic. As a member of the COVID-19 Price Gouging Task Force, Mr. Fayer investigated people who were hoarding and price gouging personal protective equipment. He described one instance when he and his team intercepted a manufacturer attempting to sell faulty N95 masks to a children’s hospital. 

To close out the discussion, Mr. Fayer detailed his career path. He advised students interested in becoming an AUSA to get experience working in court and apply for an internship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office during law school.

Thank you for stopping by, Mr. Fayer!

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