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U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA COLLECTS OVER $366 MILLION IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS FOR U.S. TAXPAYERS IN FISCAL YEAR 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2014

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. announced today that the Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office collected $366,530,698.00 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2013.  Additionally, the Eastern District of Louisiana worked with other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $588,643,036.25 in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices. 

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday 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. Attorneys’ 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.”

U.S. Attorney Polite also commented on the FY 2013 figures:

“The collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States replenishes the public treasury, makes crime victims financially whole, and ensures that federal debtors timely and fully address the consequences of their conduct.  As such, aggressive collection of civil judgments and criminal fines and restitution has been, and will continue to be, a hallmark of this office’s work on behalf of the residents of the Eastern District of Louisiana.”

As just one example, in the summer of 2012, the Eastern District of Louisiana recovered $400,000.00 in victim restitution from defendant Reginald Harper, who was convicted along with co-defendant Troy Fouquet of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  Harper and Fouquet were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $570,955.71 to First Community Bank.

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.  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 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 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, Small Business Administration, and Department of Education.

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