Thursday, January 9, 2014
HONOLULU – U.S. Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni announced today that her office collected $2,475,370 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Of this amount, $1,543,259 was collected in criminal actions and $932,110 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the District of Hawaii worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $193,281,585 in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
“The Department’s enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the American people,” said Attorney General Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the Department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”
This past August, for example, the District of Hawaii recovered $451,428 from Wahiawa General Hospital ("WGH") to settle two lawsuits alleging that WGH improperly billed the Medicare program, the State of Hawaii Medicaid program, and TRICARE, the federal health benefits program for military dependents. The settlement grew out of civil "whistleblower" lawsuits brought under the federal and State of Hawaii False Claims Acts in federal and state court. WGH agreed to the settlement but did not admit liability.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected over $7.95 million in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2013, including over $4.79 million deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund. Deposits into the Department’s Asset Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.