Financial Litigation Report
The Department of Justice announced today 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 United States Attorneys' offices nationwide. The ninety-four U.S. Attorneys' offices nation-wide contributed to the collection of $6.68 billion during the government's fiscal year. This amount is the most successful collection year by the U.S. Attorneys' offices.
The U.S. Attorneys' offices nationally 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.
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.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys' offices nationally contributed to the collection of $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.
United States Attorney Michael W. Cotter announced that in conjunction with the national numbers released by the Department of Justice, Montana contributed to the collection of $4,234,861.53 during FY 2010, the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Of the amount noted for the District of Montana in FY 2010, $1,687,927.75 was collected in criminal actions. Criminal collections include fines, assessments, and restitution. The criminal fines and assessments collected are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund to aid victims of crime nationwide. Restitution is disbursed to the victims of crime. The District of Montana also collected $2,546,933.78 in civil actions, including environmental penalties, federal agency program fraud, mortgage foreclosures and student loans. The majority of the money received from civil litigation was in mortgage foreclosure cases. Additionally, the District of Montana also collected $207,904 in criminal and civil forfeitures.
Additionally, from 1997 to 2010 the Civil Division of the Montana U.S. Attorney's Office contributed in the recovery of $412.2 million in civil settlements, judgments, restitution orders, assessments and fines. The collections over the last thirteen years include those individuals, corporations or partnerships that have perpetrated fraud and abuse in health care programs or federal farm payment programs. The majority of health care fraud is grounded in the actions of providers and not the general public. The total recoveries from 1997 to 2010 also include settlements from environmental cases where damages have been caused by irresponsible individuals, corporations or partnerships.
During this time of economic recovery, the efforts of attorneys and staff which result in collections are more important than ever," said U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter. "The U.S. Attorney's Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering tax payer dollars for victims of federal crime and for the federal treasury. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from unlawful activities, whether in the civil or criminal arena."
The majority of the collections in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Montana are the result of the work of the Financial Litigation Unit. The Financial Litigation Unit consists of one Assistant United States Attorney and two paralegal specialists. For further information, the Department's Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.