James P McDonald joined the fraud section in 2011 through the prestigious Attorney General's Honors Program. The programme has a rigorous selection process and accepts outstanding recent law school graduates. It is the only way entry-level attorneys get hired at the Justice Department.
In September 2017, he left Main Justice to join the US attorney's office in Brooklyn as an assistant US attorney.
While at Main Justice, McDonald worked on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act non-prosecution agreement in June 2015 with defence and government contracting IAP World Services. IAP agreed to pay US$7.1 million to resolve allegations that company conspired to bribe Kuwaiti officials. Former IAP vice president James Rama also pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA. He was sentenced to 120 days in prison in October 2015.
More recently, McDonald was one of the prosecutors who worked on the case against medical equipment company Olympus, which agreed to pay US$646 million in March 2016 to resolve a raft of allegations, including allegations that a subsidiary bribed doctors in the US and Latin America.
McDonald was one of the lead prosecutors in a recent FCPA settlement involving hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management, which in September 2016 agreed to pay US$413 million to settle charges that it paid bribes to high-level officials in Libya, Chad, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
McDonald graduated from Duke University School of Law in 2009, where he served as a notes editor on the Duke Law Journal and was a member of the moot court and mock trial boards. He also served as a representative from the Graduate and Professional Student Council to the Business and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees in 2008 and 2009.
After law school, he clerked for a judge on the US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles. McDonald wrote a paper for the Duke Law Journal examining the 2006 indictment of prominent plaintiff's firm Milberg Weiss and what he called its "fraudulent and unethical" recruitment of lead plaintiffs.
In 2006, while still in law school, he worked along with other Duke students on the defence of a District of Columbia resident, Peter Atherton, who claimed he was unlawfully removed from a grand jury for being disruptive.
McDonald studied economics at Bowdoin College, from which he graduated in 2005. He is originally from Denver.