Joseph Ferguson began his second four-year term as Chicago’s Inspector General on November 30, 2013. Ferguson came to the Inspector General’s Office following 15 years with the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Northern District of Illinois. From 1994 through 1999 he represented the United States in cases before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals involving employment discrimination (Title VII), civil rights, environmental law, and government program fraud. Ferguson’s work included a landmark environmental case which was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court.
From 2000 to 2009, Ferguson worked in the Criminal Division of the USAO, prosecuting public corruption, mail/wire fraud, tax, healthcare and government program frauds, terrorist financing, drug and labor racketeering cases. Ferguson served as the Chief of the USAO’s Money Laundering and Forfeiture Section, where he had previously served as Deputy Chief. He also held positions as Deputy Chief of Financial Crimes & Special Prosecutions and Terrorist Financing Coordinator. While with the USAO, he received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for his work in asset forfeiture. He also earned the Gaston Gianni Better Government Award from the President’s Council on Integrity & Efficiency for his work as part of a task force involving the USAO, Secret Service, IRS, and USDA-OIG that identified and prosecuted broad scale fraud in the federal food stamp program.
In addition to his work with the USAO, Ferguson has been an adjunct instructor at both the Loyola University and John Marshall Schools of Law in Chicago – teaching, among other subjects, National Security Law. He has also been an instructor at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, which provides training for federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigative agencies. Ferguson was a law clerk to the Hon. Myron H. Bright of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Hon. Suzanne B. Conlon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He worked for two years as a litigation associate at the law firm of Sidley Austin handling anti-trust and commercial litigation matters, and pro bono death penalty work before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Ferguson received his B.A. from Lake Forest College in 1982, and his J.D. from Northwestern University Law School in 1990.