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.
- Chicago Inn of Court, Master of the Bench
- 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
- July 20, 2016
- Daily Herald, April 8, 2016
- Greensfelder Officer Ricardo Meza to give keynote at Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Greater Chicago Chapter in MarchFebruary 10, 2016
- Daily Herald, October 15, 2015
- Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, October 13, 2015
- The Daily Herald, June 11, 2015
- WTTW Chicago Tonight, April 7, 2015
- The News-Gazette, August 31, 2014
- Chicago Tribune, August 29, 2014
- Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, February 21, 2012
- Chicago Tribune, October 20, 2011
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility” keynote addressAmerican 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” luncheonJune 2015
- The Compliance & Ethics Blog, December 17, 2015
- The Compliance & Ethics Blog, September 2015
- Insights on Business Rights: What do you do when … government agents, inspectors or investigators unexpectedly arrive at your business or home?IMPACT | Understanding and Managing Business Risk, May 13, 2015