Kathleen McGovern ’88CBA, ’91L

A Commitment To Justice Inspires

Kathleen McGovern ’88CBA, ’91L knows that, for too many people, the love of money truly is the root of all evil. And she’s devoted her professional life to doing something about it.

McGovern is currently the Senior Deputy Chief for Litigation at the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, where she is responsible for supervising the Section’s investigation and prosecution of complex white-collar crime cases throughout the country.

“My job is about helping people who pretty much have lost everything because of the actions of others,” she said. “For me, working on trials and being part of cutting edge prosecutions is all about making it right for the victims. And it’s a great way for me to put my Vincentian ideals of helping those in need into action.”

She has substantial experience with jury trials, including corporate securities and healthcare fraud, high-yield investment schemes, money laundering and tax conspiracy cases. Most recently, her work has been focused on cases relating to complicated corporate, securities and investment fraud cases, as well as investigations and initiatives to combat sophisticated financial frauds which contributed to the recent financial crisis. 

“Greed is a powerful motivator,” she noted, ‘and even though many of the cases that we prosecute are rather complex, they usually come down to a person or group attempting to deceive others for their own financial gain. No matter how intricate or extensive these crimes are, they all involve taking advantage of others in some way. And that’s just wrong!”

Prior to joining the Justice Department in 2003, McGovern held a number of key positions in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, including Deputy Bureau Chief of the Economic Crime Bureau and Principal Assistant District Attorney in the Major Crime Bureau.

She acknowledges that the combination of her B.S. in Accounting from St. John’s College of Business Administration and J.D. from St. John’s School of Law provided the perfect academic foundation for success in her current position.

“Being a graduate of St. John’s really did so much for my career,” she acknowledged. “The mixture of my business and legal backgrounds put me in a great spot for my position at the Department of Justice. And the other thing that I would point out is that at every step of the way, there was always someone, usually a St. John’s graduate, who was looking to help me. That’s just the way things are with St. John’s alumni. We’re always there for each other.”

Grateful for what the University did for her, McGovern shows her appreciation by reaching out to current students planning to embark on a profession similar to her own. She shares firsthand information about her career as an active participant in the Alumni Insider’s View…Program (AIV...), and frequently offers students valuable experience as interns within the Department of Justice.

Like many of her alumni colleagues, she is impressed by the personal qualities that St. John’s students bring to the professional world.

“Students from the University have a great work ethic and they’re hungry to do the right thing,” she remarked. “They have a great attitude and they’re used to coming from a different background where everything isn’t handed to them. It’s a very different mindset, a real working class mindset, which definitely appeals to our alumni. We have a very active group of alumni here in Washington, and whenever we get a resume from someone from St. John’s we pass it around to see if anyone knows of an available position. That’s what makes St. John’s graduates so special. We’re always there for each other, and for the students.”