TAMPA — Roger B. Handberg III, a longtime federal prosecutor, has been named the interim U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.
Handberg was appointed to the post last week by Attorney General Merrick Garland, and assumed office Christmas Day.
He succeeds Karin Hoppman, who has served as the acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District since the resignation last year of Maria Chapa Lopez. He will lead an office tasked with prosecuting federal crime in a sprawling 35-county region that includes the cities of Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. All Tampa Bay area counties are in the district.
Handberg was one of five attorneys who applied earlier this year to a set of judicial nominating committees to succeed Chapa Lopez. He was one of three finalists for the job. A permanent replacement — to be nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate — has yet to be named.
The interim appointment is good for 120 days, after which a federal district judge can reappoint Handberg to serve until the vacancy is permanently filled.
Handberg, 51, was also a finalist to be U.S. Attorney in 2009 and 2013. With close to 20 years as a federal prosecutor, he has handled cases ranging from public corruption, tax evasion and white-collar crime to child exploitation and civil rights.
His notable cases include the prosecution of former Backstreet Boys and NSYNC manager Lou Pearlman, who was sentenced in 2008 to 25 years in prison for a $300 million fraud case. He was also involved in the case against former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, which spawned a separate investigation involving U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Since 2018, Handberg has led the U.S. Attorney’s Orlando division, handling day-to-day operations and supervising 40 staff members.
He earned a J.D. in 1994 from Harvard Law School, and a B.A. in 1991 from the University of North Carolina.