Joseph Ferguson is Inspector General for the City of Chicago. His four-year statutory term began on November 30, 2009. He took that position after more than 15 years with the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois (USAO-NDIL). His first six years in the USAO was with the office’s Civil Division, where he litigated cases at both the trial (USDC-NDIL) and appellate (USCA- 7th Cir.) related to 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 January 2000 through November 2009, Ferguson worked in the Criminal Division of the USAO-NDIL, prosecuting cases involving public corruption, mail/wire fraud, tax fraud, terrorist financing, narcotics trafficking, and labor racketeering. He served as the Chief of the Money Laundering and Forfeiture Section, having worked previously in that division as Deputy Chief. He also held positions as Deputy Chief of Financial Crimes & Special Prosecutions and Terrorist Financing Coordinator for the jurisdiction. He has received the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for his work in the area of asset forfeiture. He is also a recipient of the Gaston Gianni Award from the President’s Council on Integrity & Efficiency for his work as part of a team 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 things, 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. He has also made presentations to foreign military, criminal and intelligence organizations regarding evidence gathering and prosecution of terrorism-related cases in the United States.
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, where, among other things, he worked on anti-trust and commercial litigation matters, as well as pro bono death penalty litigation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
Ferguson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College in 1982, and later went on to Northwestern University Law School, earning his JD in 1990.
BA, Lake Forest College
JD, Northwestern University Law School