News and Press Releases

U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS COLLECTS OVER $3 MILLION IN FISCAL YEAR 2012



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2012

 






Fort Smith, Arkansas – United States Attorney Conner Eldridge announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas collected $2,572,186.90 in criminal and civil actions during Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2012. Of this amount, $2,323,962.32 was collected in criminal actions and $248,224.58 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the office collected $435,251.00 in criminal and civil forfeitures, for total collections of $3,007,437.90.

Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in FY 2011. A portion of this amount, $5.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys’ Offices or the Department of Justice’s litigating divisions were also involved. The $13.1 billion represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2012.

United States Attorney Eldridge stated, “During this time of economic recovery, these collections are more important than ever. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for victims of federal crime and the federal treasury. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities.”

Two cases from the Western District of Arkansas during FY 2012 are of note. In United States v. Raymond Bornhoft, a Fayetteville Division case, the defendant used his position as a tax and estate planning attorney to defraud a family trust out of over $3 million. After successful prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has already collected a total of $1,349,542.02 from the defendant and will continue collection efforts for the duration of liability. In United States v. Smackover Pharmacy, an example of a civil collection case from the El Dorado Division, the defendant was assessed a civil penalty of $53,800.00 for illegally filling prescriptions issued outside the normal course of medical practice. A total of $33,400.00 was collected by the office in FY 2012, and the remaining balance will be collected in monthly installments during FY 2013.

Across the nation, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Department of Justice’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting criminal debts owed to federal crime victims and civil and criminal debts owed to the United States. Statistics indicate the total
amount collected in criminal actions around the nation totaled $3.035 billion in restitution, criminal fines, and felony assessments.

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 directly to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Department of Justice Crime Victims’ Fund, which then distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs. During FY 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas collected $400,798.09, which was deposited into the Crime Victims’ Fund. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s Office administers the Crime Victims’ Reparation Program in the State of Arkansas. The office’s phone number is (501) 682-1323 or toll-free in Arkansas at (800) 448-3014. Victim assistance includes, but is not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, emergency transportation, lost wages, counseling, medical costs, and funeral expenses.

The Treasury Offset Program (“TOP”) is another valuable program to collect money for the victims of crime. TOP is a provision of the Debt Collection Improvement Act under which federal agencies can submit delinquent debts to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Treasury Department then offsets payments that were originally intended to be made to defendants and forwards them to the referring agencies to apply against the defendants’ delinquent debts. Using the TOP guidelines, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can offset most federal payments made to defendants including tax refunds. Beginning in FY 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas began reviewing existing debts not previously included in TOP. Through the office’s efforts, payments received through TOP increased from $59,076.63 in FY 2010 to $234,265.58 in FY 2012, an increase of nearly four times.

Nationwide statistics also indicate $10.12 billion was collected by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in individually and jointly handled civil actions. 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 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, and Small Business Administration.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $4.389 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2012. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.

The $13.16 billion collected nationwide by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for FY 2012 nearly matches the $13.18 billion collected in FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined.

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The Office of U.S. Attorney
Conner Eldridge
 
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