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U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTS OVER $76 MILLION IN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL DEBTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2012

United States Attorney Dana J. Boente announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana collected over $76 million in criminal and civil debts in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. Of this amount, $30 million was collected in criminal actions and $46 million was collected in civil actions.

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 department 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.

“The collection of criminal fines, civil debts to the United States, and especially criminal restitution owed to individual crime victims is a critically important function of the United States Attorney’s Office here in the Eastern District of Louisiana,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “These collections seek to make whole crime victims in this District and ensure that debts owed to the United States are repaid fully and timely.”

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. Statistics indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions 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’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim-compensation and victim-assistance programs.

The statistics also indicate that $10.12 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 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, Department of Education, 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.

For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/resources/reports/.

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