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U. S. ATTORNEYS’ OFFICES COLLECTED $6.68 BILLION IN CIVIL & CRIMINAL ACTIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2010

Recoveries Largest in History, Three Times Offices’ Appropriated Budget for Year

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced that financial collections by the Department of Justice in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 reached an all-time high due to the efforts of the U.S. Attorneys’ offices nationwide. The ninety-four U.S. Attorneys’ offices nation-wide collected $6.68 billion during the government’s fiscal year. This amount is the most successful collection year by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, amounting to more than three times their appropriated budget for FY 2010.

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida collected $69,594,479.56 in FY 2010. Of this amount, $14,472,382.04 was collected in criminal actions and $55,122,097,52. Additionally, the office also collected $140,549,628 in criminal and civil forfeitures, from which amount $7,909,774 was distributed to other law enforcement agencies for their participation/contribution to the specific cases.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. During these tough economic times, these collections are more important than ever.”

The U.S. Attorneys’ offices are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. Statistics from the Department of Justice indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions totaled $2.84 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’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $1.8 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2010. Forfeited assets are deposited into either the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.

The statistics also indicate that $3.84 billion was collected in 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, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, and Small Business Administration.

The nationwide collection totals for FY 2010 represent nearly a 30% increase in criminal collections and 57% increase in civil collections over FY 2009. In FY 2009, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected more than $4.6 billion. Of the amount collected, $2.23 billion was collected criminally and $2.44 billion was collected civilly. The significant increase in collections was due to various large criminal restitution cases as well as large health care fraud cases.

For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports through FY 2009 can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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