News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - November 17, 2011

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTS $15,635,966.77
IN CIVIL & CRIMINAL ACTIONS IN FY 2011

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced today that the Eastern District of North Carolina collected $15,635,966.77 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 related to criminal and civil actions. Of this amount, $5,266,884.69 was collected in criminal actions and $10,369,082.08 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the office collected $3,090,671.00 in criminal and civil forfeitures.

Nationwide, the United States Attorneys’ Offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2011, surpassing $6 billion for the second consecutive year. A portion of this amount, $1.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more United States Attorneys’ Offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $6.5 billion represents more than three times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2011.

“Collections of debts owed to the United States and to crime victims is a top priority of our office. During the recently completed fiscal year, our office collected more than the amount of money appropriated to fund our entire office operations. Much of this money was collected from those who have defrauded the Government and others,” stated Mr. Walker. “In these tight budgetary times for our nation, we will continue our effective collection efforts on behalf of the United States and the victims of crimes.”

The Eastern District of North Carolina places a high priority on the collection of restitution for victims of crimes. This past May, the District was successful in recovering $426,508.72 of the restitution ordered in the USA v. Blondeau case. The office is currently awaiting a court ruling to collect the remaining balance of $26,185.28. Successful collection of the full restitution allows for the return of monies taken from an elderly Alzheimer patient.

Various civil client agencies rely on the District to collect outstanding civil debt. In one such case this year the office collected over $1.1 million from a local ambulance company case. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the remaining balance will be paid in monthly installments of $11,111.11. The funds collected are returned to the respective federal and state agencies.

The United States 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 $2.66 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.

In 2011, North Carolina was awarded $12,720,618.00 for Victims of Crime Act Funding. Some of the programs funded with this money in the Eastern District of the North Carolina was

- Supervised Visitation Services - Pitt County, for Family Violence Prevention. Funding provides a center for supervised visitation and monitored exchange for the 2nd and 3A Judicial Districts. This project operates in the following counties: Pitt, Beaufort, Martin, and Washington.

- Basic Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Assault Service - Carteret, Craven, Hyde and Pitt. Funding covers services that meet the basic immediate needs of victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault such as shelter, hot line, counseling, and advocacy.

- Sexual Trauma Therapist - Carteret County Rape Crisis Center. Funding provides free licensed counseling services to survivors and secondary survivors of sexual assault of all ages.

- Pitt County CARE - East Carolina University, TEDI Bear Child Advocacy Center. Funding provides child-centered collaborative evaluations to alleged victims of child sexual and physical abuse and neglect as well as interagency case coordination, assessment, education, advocacy and trauma therapy by skilled staff to promote safety, wellness and healing.

The statistics also indicate that $3.83 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 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 United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Small Business Administration.

Additionally, the United States Attorneys’ Offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2011. 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 nationwide collection totals for the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined is $13.18 billion, which represents nearly a 52% increase over the FY 2008 and FY 2009 combined total of $8.55 billion.

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

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