Photo of Ricardo  Meza

Ricardo Meza


As a former federal prosecutor and executive inspector general for the state of Illinois, Ricardo Meza is well-qualified to conduct high-level external investigations for businesses or public entities, as well as advising those facing inquiries from federal agencies. 


  • Illinois
  • Texas


J.D., The John Marshall Law School, 1989

B.A., Political Science, Illinois State University, 1986


Ricardo Meza’s background as an assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois and Texas, where he tried over 30 federal trials, nearly all to a jury, and as Illinois executive inspector general gives him a deep context for his litigation work, which includes complex litigation, internal investigations, white-collar criminal defense and government interaction. 

His experience with high-level investigations lends a unique perspective for corporations, universities or public entities who may find themselves in need of an external investigation. Those situations may include allegations of fraud, conflict of interest, employment-related matters, or financial or personal improprieties. Ricardo also advises those who are facing inquiries from federal agencies regarding allegations of wrongdoing.

As Illinois’ executive inspector general from 2010 to 2015, Ricardo led his office in hundreds of investigations related to waste, fraud, abuse and hiring improprieties. He had investigative authority over the office of the Illinois governor, 40 state agencies, 250 boards and commissions, nine Illinois public universities and four regional transit boards, as well as private vendors that conducted business with those entities. 

His investigations have covered employment, official misconduct, hiring improprieties and procurement, and his knowledge of compliance, audit and internal control issues gives him depth in investigating potential fraud or financial improprieties. Ricardo’s reputation for fair and thorough work benefits clients who may need to get to the bottom of a difficult situation while undergoing an objective investigation.

Before his tenure as executive inspector general, Ricardo spent five years as Midwest regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a Latino civil rights organization. He led the office’s litigation and public policy matters in 10 states, working on high-impact cases regarding the rights of Latinos in the U.S. to employment, education, political access, immigration and housing. 

In addition to his extensive trial experience, Ricardo has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He spent more than 10 years as an assistant U.S. attorney, working in the Northern District of Illinois and the Western District of Texas. In that role, he led grand jury investigations, prosecuted federal criminal violations and directed special agents from agencies including the FBI, DEA, IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Ricardo also served as an assistant attorney general in Texas, representing the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in sales and use tax matters. He taught trial advocacy at the John Marshall Law School and has presented at various continuing legal education seminars. 

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Inn of Court, Master of the Bench

Community/Civic Activities

  • Chicago Task Force on Removing Barriers to Employment and Entrepreneurship, member
  • Leadership Greater Chicago, 2007 Fellow
  • Illinois State University Attorney Advisory Council
  • Board Member, Omni Youth Services, 2002-2010
  • Board member, Chicago Health Connection, 2000-2008
  • Volunteer wrestling coach, Hanks High School, El Paso, Texas, 1996-97

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • John Marshall Law School, Distinguished Service Award, 2012
  • Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Service Award, 2011
  • Chicago Bar Association, Vanguard Award, 2010
  • Cook County State’s Attorney Office, El Humanitario Award, 2008
  • Palatine High School, Distinguished Graduate Award for Community Service, 2002
  • U.S. General Services Administration, Inspector General’s Honor Award, 2000

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility” keynote address
    American Bar Foundation, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, June 6, 2016
  • "Race, Redistricting and Reform: Lessons learned from California"
    CHANGE Illinois and Common Cause, May 12, 2016
  • “Investigative Tips From a Former Inspector General”
    Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Greater Chicago Chapter, March 4, 2016
  • Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s “State Leaders: Their Vision for Illinois” luncheon
    June 2015