|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||January 9, 2014|
Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office Collected $78.1 Million
in Civil and Criminal Actions in Fiscal Year 2013
CHICAGO ― The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois collected $78.1 million in fiscal year (FY) 2013, Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today. These collections included more than $31.8 million in criminal debts, more than $31.8 million in civil actions, and $14.5 million in forfeited assets, resulting in the office’s total collections exceeding well more than twice its budget of approximately $33.8 million in FY 2013. Over the last 10 fiscal years combined, the office has collected more than $915 million on behalf of the United States.
In addition, in FY 2013, a court-appointed special master distributed $50 million in restitution to more than 7,000 victims in a criminal investment fraud case against a defendant who owned properties in Mexico and Panama. This amount was not included in the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s direct collection figures because it was handled by the special master, but it resulted from the office’s prosecution of this defendant.
In addition to the $63.6 million collected through criminal and civil cases, the office collected $14.5 million through asset forfeiture proceedings. The largest amount in this category, approximately $9.2 million in net liquidated proceeds, came from the forfeited assets of Rita Crundwell, the former comptroller of Dixon, Ill., who is serving a sentence of 19 years and five months in prison for embezzling $53 million from the town over two decades. The $9.2 million in forfeiture proceeds was restored to the City of Dixon last month.
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 news is more important now than ever,” Mr. Fardon said. “During fiscal year 2013, despite historically challenging circumstances, we collected more than double what we cost. The men and women of this office ― especially in our Civil Division, Financial Litigation Unit, and Asset Forfeiture Section ― have demonstrated once again our commitment to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We seek to keep those we prosecute from profiting from their crimes. In pursuit of that goal, we have provided a substantial net financial benefit to the citizens of our district,” Mr. Fardon added.
During FY 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Financial Litigation Unit in Chicago collected $31,812,252.86 in criminal actions, including more than $1.8 million in criminal fines; more than $16.7 million in restitution owed to the federal government; and more than $12.9 million in nonfederal restitution owed to victims, including the victims of various financial frauds and Ponzi schemes.
Among the criminal collections was $10.27 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service that was paid last August by two business owners who received prison terms for failing to report as income and pay personal and corporate taxes on more than $22 million they diverted from their business and divided equally. Already in In FY 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has collected a $53 million civil penalty on behalf of the IRS from a different business owner who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to failing to report income from a secret foreign bank account.
In civil actions, the office collected $31,817,946.56, including amounts of $12.9 million, $2.93 million, and $2.4 million to settle civil health care fraud cases under the False Claims Act.
Civil collections typically 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.
The U.S. Attorney's Offices, along with the Justice Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. When defendants are convicted and sentenced in criminal cases, judges must impose restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. The U.S. Attorney's Offices are authorized to make efforts to collect criminal debts for 20 years after defendants are released from custody.
While restitution is paid by Courts directly to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Justice Department's Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs. Liquidated assets obtained through criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings are deposited into either the Department of Justice Asset 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.
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