John F. Penza is the Director of Global Investigations for 5 Stones intelligence, where he is responsible for driving company performance, marketing, technology development and Client services within the US Government and Commercial Clients Division.
Mr. Penza is a 27- year law enforcement and national security executive who most recently served as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Violent Crime Threat Branch of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). In this role, Mr. Penza was responsible for more than 200 law enforcement professionals from over 40 federal, state and local agencies and an annual operating budget of $5 million. Mr. Penza led high risk and complex investigations and source operations targeting violent crime activity, including sophisticated gangs, crimes against children and transnational organized crime groups. Of significance, Mr. Penza oversaw the investigation leading to the location, arrest and ultimate prosecution of Ghislaine Maxwell. Additionally, Mr. Penza developed and implemented an initiative with the New York City Police Department to strategically identify and target violent offenders responsible for gun violence, resulting in federal prosecution of more than 120 violent offenders during an 18-month period.
Prior to his promotion to Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Mr. Penza was the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Director of the Criminal Division of the FBI in Washington DC. In this capacity, Mr. Penza provided daily counsel, talking points and presentations for the Assistant Director of the Criminal Division regarding approximately 55,000 on-going FBI investigations, more than 700 employees and a budget in excess of $250 million. Additionally, Mr. Penza managed and developed a staff supporting the daily and long term mission of FBI leadership and workforce through strategy and policy management, executive daily briefings, branding and communications, special projects and other mission specific support requirements.
Mr. Penza also served as an FBI supervisor and investigator for both Eurasian and Italian Organized Crime in the United States and Italy. While a supervisor, Mr. Penza led complex investigations, resulting in the arrest of more than 150 individuals, indictments of $450 million in fraud, tracing of approximately $300 million of illegal proceeds and asset forfeitures totaling more than $100 million. Mr. Penza coordinated with foreign law enforcement partners targeting transnational criminal groups engaged in sophisticated financial crimes such as securities fraud, insider trading, health care fraud and money laundering. Mr. Penza initiated and directed an international criminal investigation into the highest levels of Eurasian Organized Crime, operating sophisticated money-laundering schemes with significant reach into the US financial institutions. By utilizing sophisticated techniques, Mr. Penza was able to obtain more than 40 RICO indictments and forfeitures in excess of $65 million. Of significance, Mr. Penza developed, managed and advanced the high profile criminal investigation of FIFA executives, resulting in 40 indictments, $250 million in forfeitures and institutional changes within FIFA.
Mr. Penza also investigated the criminal activities of the Genovese Organized Crime Family. He led numerous investigations exposing decades of institutional corruption at Port Newark/Elizabeth, one of the largest ports in the United States. These investigations resulted in more than 20 RICO indictments of organized crime members, union executives, and corrupt union members. He also investigated the New York City Department of Education, exposing decades of corruption between organized crime, union executives and corrupt New York City Department of Education officials, resulting in numerous RICO indictments.
Mr. Penza was assigned to the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Rome, Italy where he was embedded with the Policia di Stato. During his tenure, he conducted transnational organized crime investigations with nexus to the United States and Italy and provided strategic briefings to both Italian and FBI Executives for ongoing transnational investigations.
Mr. Penza has received numerous awards, including the US Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Federal Executive Board Award for Outstanding Investigation and multiple FBI Commendations for Outstanding Leadership and Investigations. Mr. Penza is the first FBI agent to be certified as a Eurasian Organized Crime Expert in the Southern District of New York. In this capacity, he has served as a speaker and panelist at the George C. Marshall Center, John Cabot University and other international law enforcement agencies.
Prior to Mr. Penza’s appointment with the FBI, he was a local police officer in New Jersey and correctional officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Mr. Penza holds a Bachelors Degree in Administration of Justice from Rutgers University and a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from Seton Hall University.