Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office provides services for victims and witnesses of federal crimes. Our staff provide case status information, education regarding the federal criminal justice system, court accompaniment, crisis intervention, referrals to various social service organizations in the county, state and other federal agencies.
It is our goal to ensure that crime victims and witnesses are afforded their rights and treated fairly during the prosecution process.
Federal crime victims* have the following rights, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3771:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
We will make our best efforts to ensure you are accorded the rights described.
You can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to these rights, Section 3771(c)(2).
If you are a federal crime victim and believe that an employee of the United States Attorney's Office failed to provide you with one or more of the more of these rights, you may file an administrative complaint, as provided under 28 CFR § 41.10. Please contact the Victim Witness Coordinator in the United States Attorney’s Office to obtain information about these procedures or the internet site for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/vr/index.html for further guidance and copies of the requisite forms.
* According to the act, a victim is “a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia. In the case of a crime victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the legal guardians of the crime victim or representatives of the crime victim’s estate, family members, or any other persons appointed suitable by the court, may assume the crime victim’s right under this chapter, but in no event shall the defendant be named as such guardian or representative.”
Crime Victims Compensation
If you are a victim who was injured during a crime you may be eligible to file a claim with the PENNSYLVANIA CRIME VICTIM’S COMPENSATION BOARD (CVCB) for uninsured or unreimbursable medical expenses, if any. The CVCB accepts claims for unreimbursed medical expenses and/or loss of wages that are incurred as a direct result of a crime.
- The crime must have occurred in Pennsylvania.
- The crime must have been reported to the proper authorities (police/hospital) within 72 hours of the incident or a Protection from Abuse Order was filed within three days.
- You must have incurred at least $100.00 of unreimbursed medical expenses and/or loss of wages as a direct result of the incident.
- You must cooperate with law enforcement authorities.
- You must file your claim within one (1) year of the date of the incident, or 2 years if you can show good cause.
TYPES OF EXPENSES REIMBURSED
- Medical Expenses - Medical, dental and other expenses related to the injury (including physical therapy, medications, home health care, medical equipment and transportation costs to medical and counseling appointments).
- Counseling - If a crime results in death, the spouse, children, parents or siblings who, at the time of the crime, lived in the same house as the victim are eligible for compensation for counseling expenses. In other crimes, compensation for counseling covers only the victim.
- Loss of Earnings or Support - If deprived of earnings as a result of injury received in a crime incident, the victim may be paid for such loss provided all requirements are met. If deprived of support due to the death of a victim as a result of a crime incident, you may be eligible for compensation.
- Loss of Benefits - If Social Security, veteran’s retirement, railroad retirement, pensions/retirement, disability, or court ordered child/spousal support is the main source of income and the loss occurs through robbery, assault, rape, homicide, kidnapping or burglary, you may be compensated within certain limits.
- Funeral Expenses - If you paid or are liable to pay the funeral bill for a deceased victim, you may be compensated for loss, within certain limits.
- Crime-scene Cleanup
- Relocation Assistance
The maximum claim allowed by law is $ 35,000. Compensation for lost earnings may not exceed $15,000 and for loss of support in the event of the victim’s death $20,000.
Victims Compensation Program
Office of Victims’ Services
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
P. O. Box 1167
(800) 233-2339 or (717) 783-5153
Fax (717) 787-4306
If you are a victim of a federal crime charged and filed in this district, we can notify you of:
- the arrest of a suspected offender;
- the nature of the charges against a suspected offender;
- the scheduling of each court proceeding that you are either required or entitled to attend;
- the pre-trial release on bail or detention status of a suspected offender;
- the acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or the rendering of a verdict after trial; and
- the sentence imposed on an offender.
If you have any questions, please contact our Victim Witness Coordinator at 215.861.8200.
- Information re: U.S. v. Arthur Toll, Bruce Edmundson and Elliot Fisher [Regal Communications - Securities Fraud]
- Information re: U.S. v. Melvin D. Shaw: Press Release; and Indictment
- Information re: U.S. v. Thomas Massara: Press Release; and Indictment
- Information re: U.S. v. Norman Shapiro, Howard Coff, Marc Feldman.: Press Release; and Indictment
- Information re: GoInternet case (U.S. v. Neal Saferstein, Tyrone Barr, and Billy Light) Press Release; Indictment; USAPAE.CaseInformation@usdoj.gov
Defendant Tyrone Barr pled Guilty on September 22, 2009. His sentencing date is January 11, 2010.
Defendant Neal Saferstein is scheduled to go to trial on November 2, 2009 (with jury selection scheduled for October 1-2, 2009).
- Information re: U.S. v. Lizette Morice a/k/a Gaddel Enterprises
*NOTE: The following organizations are some, but not all, of the organizations available to assist crime victims. No such organization is affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Attorney's Office and you should independently consider and assess any services that such organizations and others may offer.
General Victim/Witness Resources
- National Organization for Victim Assistance
- National Center for Victims of Crime
- Pennsylvania Crime Victim Assistance Bureau
- U. S. Social Security Administration
- National Fraud Information Center
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
- Pennsylvania Real Estate Service
- Childhelp USA (Child Abuse Hotline)
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect
- Children's Advocacy Center
- Children's Crisis Treatment Center
- St. Gabriel's System
(Serves children and teenagers who are victims of crime.)
- Support Center for Child Advocacy
(Child Abuse and Neglect, Medically Needy Children, Kids'n Kin, Adoption)
- Battered Women's Justice Project
1.800.903.0111 ext. 3
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
- Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody
- Family Violence Prevention Fund/Health Resource Center
- Women Against Abuse
215.686.7082 (Legal Center)
- Women in Transition
- Women Organized Against Rape
- Lutheran Settlement House/Bilingual Domestic Violence Project
- Congreso De Latinos Unidos
215.978.1174 (Domestic Violence Hotline)
- Rape and Crime Victims/Trauma Survivors Program Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety
- National Elder Care Locator Services Hotline
- Action Alliance Elderly Victim Assistance Program
- Commission on Services for the Aging
- Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
- Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE)
- Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging/Older Adult Protective Services
- Legal Service Corp.
- Community Legal Service
- Crime Victims' Legal Center
- Philadelphia Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service