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Matthew  Bogdanos

Matthew Bogdanos

Homicide Prosecutor for the NYC District Attorney’s Office & Creator of the U.S.’s First Antiquities Trafficking Unit

Matthew Bogdanos

Homicide Prosecutor for the NYC District Attorney’s Office & Creator of the U.S.’s First Antiquities Trafficking Unit


Colonel Matthew Bogdanos is a homicide prosecutor for the New York County District Attorney’s Office, who also created and heads the U.S.’s first Antiquities Trafficking Unit, still the only one of its kind in the world. The son of a Greek father and French mother, he was raised waiting tables in his family's Greek restaurant in Lower Manhattan. He is a former amateur middleweight boxer who joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 19. Leaving active duty in 1988 to join the DA’s Office, he remained in the Marine Corps Reserves, leading a counter-narcotics operation on the Mexican border, and serving in Desert Storm, South Korea, Lithuania, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo.

Losing his apartment near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, he was recalled to active duty and joined a counter-terrorism task force in Afghanistan, receiving a Bronze Star for actions against al-Qaeda. He then served in the Horn of Africa followed by three tours in Iraq, where he led the international investigation into the looting of Iraq’s National Museum. The first to expose the link between antiquities trafficking and terrorist financing, he has presented those findings in 32 countries, in venues including the United Nations, Interpol, British Parliament, the European Union, the European Parliament, and the U.S. Congress. In 2005, he received a National Humanities Medal from President Bush for helping recover more than 6000 of Iraq's treasures—and he helped recover more than 3,000 after that. In 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan for his 6th post-9/11 combat tour.

Returning to the DA’s Office in October 2010, he continues the hunt for stolen antiquities. Since then, he has led the recovery of more than 5,000 priceless antiquities—totaling more than $400 million—stolen from Greece, Italy, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, and others. He still boxes—with a 13-3 record since his 40th birthday, and co-founded an annual charity boxing event, Battle of the Barristers, that has raised more than $1.5 million for wounded veterans and children at risk.

He holds a classics degree from Bucknell University; a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College; and, from Columbia University, a law degree, a master’s degree in Classics, and a Recognition of Achievement in International Law. In addition to dozens of military decorations, he received a 2007 Proclamation from the City of New York, 2009 Proclamation from the City of Philadelphia, 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, 2016 Achievement Award from the Vatican, and was Grand Marshal of the 2010 Greek Independence Day Parade.

Speech Topics

Thieves of Baghdad: The Journey to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasures

Designed to separate myth from reality, the presentation will explore the investigation into the theft and looting of the Iraq Museum in those fateful days in April of 2003. From the creation of the U.S. government's first multi-agency task force ever deployed to a war zone (in the frozen hills of Afghanistan) to that team's recovery more than one year later of over 5000 of history's most priceless antiquities in eight countries. Combining a lecture with hundreds of photographs, it will also expose the flourishing black market in stolen antiquities and address the future of international efforts to stop the smugglers.

The Leadership Life: Taking Charge of Your Mission to Lead

The Treasures that We Inherit & The Value of Art

Consensual Leadership: The Art of Teambuilding


Books & Media


Thieves of Baghdad