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Los Angeles-Based U.S. Attorney’s Office Collected Over $200 Million in Civil, Criminal and Asset Forfeiture Actions During 2011 Fiscal Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2011

LOS ANGELES – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California collected $202,766,884 as a result of criminal prosecutions, civil lawsuits and asset forfeiture actions during the 2011 fiscal year, United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. announced today.

The total figure, which was slightly higher than the 2010 fiscal year, is the result of $17,314,470 collected in criminal actions, $166,473,415 collected in civil actions, and $18,978,999 collected in criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings.

“During the past five years, this office has collected approximately $1 billion – money that has gone to the federal treasury and to victims of federal crimes,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The efforts by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in this office demonstrate a deeply held commitment to pursuing justice, being fiscally responsible and working on behalf of the victims of crime.”

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is based in Los Angeles and has branch offices in Santa Ana and Riverside. Approximately 260 Assistant United States Attorneys serve well over 18 million residents of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

During the 2011 fiscal year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collected millions of dollars to recoup costs associated with fighting Southern California wildfires (see, for example: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2011/138.html) and two companies paid more than $16.5 million to settle allegations that they systematically overcharged federal and state government agencies in connection with the lease and purchase of telephone systems (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2011/025.html).

Nationwide, the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2011, surpassing $6 billion for the second consecutive year. The $6.5 billion represents more than three times the appropriated budget of the United States Attorneys’ offices.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the litigating divisions at the Department of Justice in Washington, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims.

The FY 2011 statistics indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions totaled $2.66 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 DOJ’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

The statistics also indicate that $3.83 billion was collected by the 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/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, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Small Business Administration.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2011. 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.

Last year, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California collected just over $200 million in criminal, civil and asset forfeiture actions (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/pr2010/182.html).

The United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.

Release No. 11-162

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