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3-9.000
FINANCIAL LITIGATION POLICY

3-9.100 Introduction
3-9.110 Enforcement Responsibility
3-9.120 Designation of Assistant United States Attorney Responsible for Financial Litigation
3-9.130 Standards for Debt Collection Action
3-9.140 Resources
3-9.150 Outreach
3-9.200 Reporting and Management-Financial Litigation Plan
3-9.210 Case Tracking System
3-9.220 Financial Litigation Records
3-9.230 Report to United States Attorney on Accomplishments
3-9.240 Use of Media

3-9.100

Introduction

The United States Attorneys' offices handle most financial litigation matters for the United States. The Executive Office for United States Attorneys appreciates this and recognizes that the Department's financial litigation goals will be achieved in large measure by United States Attorneys and their Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel.

Chapters 9 - 12 have been developed by the Asset Recovery Staff, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, to assist United States Attorney personnel in their day-to-day financial litigation work and to enable them better to collect civil and criminal debts due the United States and victims of crime in a timely, aggressive, efficient and effective manner. It contains policy which will ensure the efficient and effective performance of financial litigation work. It sets forth policy for (1) the handling of claims referred by the various federal agencies for litigation and enforced collection, and (2) the collection of criminal fines, restitution, penalties, assessments, court costs and appearance bond forfeitures. Portions of this material, particularly Civil Postjudgment Financial Litigation Activity USAM 3-10.200, also apply to the handling of any non-tax money judgments obtained by Assistant United States Attorneys outside of the Financial Litigation/Asset Revery Unit, but for which Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel have been assigned collection responsibility. The collection of tax judgments is not addressed in this chapter.

The Department of Justice places a high priority on improvement of government-wide debt collection efforts. In connection with this priority, the Department of Justice has emphasized that the role of United States Attorneys is to litigate vigorously and to enforce the collection of debts due the United States and victims of crime. Prompt and effective action is necessary if debtors are to respect the Department's ability and authority to collect these debts. Prompt and effective action is also important to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring on claims and to ensure public confidence in the institutions of government.

[updated September 2014]

3-9.110

Enforcement Responsibility

Each United States Attorney is responsible for conducting, handling, or supervising such litigation or other actions as may be appropriate to accomplish the satisfaction, collection or recovery of judgments, fines, penalties and forfeitures imposed in the district. However, an Assistant Attorney General, or delegate of the litigating division which has jurisdiction of the case in which such judgment, fine, penalty or forfeiture is imposed, may notify the United States Attorney in writing that the division will assume enforcement responsibilities. 28 C.F.R. § 0.171(a).

3-9.120

Designation of Assistant United States Attorney Responsible for Financial Litigation

The importance attached to financial litigation by the Department of Justice is reflected in the requirements of 28 C.F.R. § 0.171(b), which reads:

    Each United States Attorney shall designate an Assistant United States Attorney, and such other employees as may be necessary, or shall establish an appropriate unit within [the] office, to be responsible for activities related to the satisfaction, collection, or recovery, as the case may be, of judgments, fines, penalties, and forfeitures (including bail-bond forfeitures).

[updated September 2014]

3-9.130

Standards for Debt Collection Action

Statutory limitations on the activities of private collection agents and agencies are found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692. These limitations do not apply to activities undertaken by United States Attorneys' offices to enforce collection of debts due the United States or victims of crime. Nevertheless, whenever specific activities by private collection agents are limited by statute, and such activities are analogous to those of United States Attorneys' offices, the statutory limitations should be followed. All financial litigation action by Department of Justice personnel should meet the highest ethical and professional standards.

[updated September 2014]

3-9.140

Resources

See USAP 3-9.100.001 (Financial Litigation Personnel, Outreach, Reporting and Media).

[updated September 2014]

3-9.150

Outreach

All Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel should maintain close working relationships with representatives of their client agencies. It is the responsibility of the United States Attorney's office to ensure that client agencies are kept fully informed of efforts undertaken by United States Attorney personnel on referred debt claims.

Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel should also maintain close working relationships with representatives of the Clerk of Court, United States Probation office, United States Marshals Service and any state agency which may provide assistance in the handling of financial litigation matters.

See USAP 3-9.100.001 (Financial Litigation Personnel, Outreach, Reporting and Media).

[updated September 2014]

3-9.200

Reporting and Management—Financial Litigation Plan

Each United States Attorney's office must have in place a Financial Litigation Plan for the current fiscal year. The Asset Recovery Staff provides a "Model Plan" to be customized by each United States Attorney's office to reflect its specific procedures and qualitative goals in financial litigation.

[updated September 2014]

3-9.210

Case Tracking System

All Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Units should have and make full use of the Department-wide debt collection tracking system. Such system will serve to ensure that all required financial litigation activity is recorded and any necessary follow-up is performed in an efficient and timely manner.

[updated September 2014]

3-9.220

Financial Litigation Records

Debt Collection Records, whether maintained as separate files or in the civil or criminal case files, should include all applicable records, including the following: Claims Collection Litigation Reports (CCLR); Certificates of Indebtedness; Conflict of Interest forms; court and related documents, including financial statements, consent judgments, Abstracts/Notices of Lien, pleadings, orders, status reports, and briefs; notes from telephone conversations and meetings; settlement agreements; and correspondence. Any other documentation developed during the negotiation, litigation, compromise or settlement of the indebtedness shall also remain in the file. Presentence Investigation Reports and other asset investigation reports, such as credit reports and tax returns, may be maintained separately but must be secured in a manner which limits access to authorized personnel.

In addition, closing documents such as satisfactions of judgment, certificates of discharge and the USA Form 207, Notice to Close Legal Case File, should be maintained in the files. These files should also contain any records maintained by private counsel participating in the Department's Private Counsel program and which are turned over to the United States Attorney at the completion of financial litigation efforts. All of this information shall be retained in the file when it is shipped to the Federal Records Center (FRC). See the USAP 3-13.300.005 (Case File Creation and Preservation) for further information on documentation to be purged from the files prior to sending to the FRC (e.g., PSIs, credit reports, tax returns).

[updated September 2014]

3-9.230

Report to United States Attorney on Accomplishments

The Assistant United States Attorney responsible for financial litigation shall provide a report to the United States Attorney each month, or as required by the United States Attorney, quantifying the accomplishments of the Unit during the preceding period and providing any further information as to collection activity as may be requested by the United States Attorney.

See USAP 3-9.100.001 (Financial Litigation Personnel, Outreach, Reporting and Media).

[updated September 2014]

3-9.240

Use of Media

See USAP 3-9.100.001 (Financial Litigation Personnel, Outreach, Reporting and Media).

[updated September 2014]