United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
U. S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTS OVER $13.5 MILLION IN CIVIL & CRIMINAL ACTIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2011 Nearly $4 Million Was Paid Out to the Federal Court for Distribution to Victims of Crimes Charlotte, N.C. - U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins announced today that the Western District of North Carolina collected over $13.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 in its criminal, civil, and forfeiture programs. Of this amount, $8,379,115 was forfeited in civil and criminal cases, $2,643,006 was collected in criminal actions, and $2,479,304 was collected in civil actions. Nearly $4 million of the total collections was paid out to the federal court for distribution to victims of crimes. The office also seized approximately $25 million in additional assets that remain pending in civil and criminal actions.
Nationwide, the U.S. 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 joint cases in which one or more U.S. 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 U.S. Attorneys’ offices for FY 2011. “The United States Attorney’s Office has a multi-faceted responsibility to the public,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins stated. “First and foremost, our job is to prosecute criminals. But a significant part of the prosecution process is depriving the criminals of the fruits of their illegal activities. And, more importantly, is our goal of making restitution to the victims of crimes. During this time of economic recovery, these collections are more important than ever. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities,” Tompkins added.
Western District of North Carolina Collections in Criminal and Civil Cases and Forfeiture Actions In the Western District in FY 2011, $8,379,115 was forfeited in civil and criminal cases. A total of $3,968,274 in restitution was collected by the United States Attorney’s Office on behalf of crime victims, of which $1,474,448 was from forfeited assets. It is a priority of the Department of Justice that victims be repaid their losses from all sources available, including forfeited assets. Collection of restitution on behalf of victims remains a top priority for the Western District. The office had numerous sizeable collections in a variety of cases, including tax fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, and child pornography. In addition, the office had several sizeable civil enforcement actions related to health care and other fraud.
In United States v. Meridian Industries, Inc., Meridian Industries, Inc. paid $900,000 in cleanup costs following the discharge of 3,100 gallons of fuel from its textile manufacturing facility into the adjacent Catawba River. The Catawba flows through the two Carolinas and is a drinking water source for communities along its 220-mile length. Meridian’s subsidiary, Meridian Specialty Yarn Group, Inc., formerly owned Belmont Dyers, which operated textile dyeing facilities on the site. The payment resolves environmental liability under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The civil settlement occurred in tandem with a criminal plea by a demolition contractor implicated in the discharge.
In United States v. Patel, Dr. Latika D. Patel paid $750,000 to resolve civil allegations that she billed the Medicaid Program for more extensive services than she provided. Similarly, Senior Care Group, Inc. of Tampa, Florida, paid $161,139 to settle civil allegations that two skilled rehabilitation facilities it owns in the mountains of North Carolina billed the Medicare Program for rehabilitation services that were unnecessary.
In the case of United States v. Jinwright, Anthony and Harriet Jinwright were convicted of tax evasion. In 2010, the defendants were ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $76,000 in cash and assets, despite the defendants’ claims of indigency. Those funds were paid toward the Jinwrights’ outstanding federal tax liabilities.
In United States v. Brady, Cindy Brady was convicted in June 2011 for theft from the “Giving Tree” charitable program and was ordered to repay the more than $79,000 she stole for personal use. The funds were to have been used to purchase gifts for low-income individuals in the program. The full loss amount was recovered in FY 2011 and was repaid to the victim.
In the case of United States v. Tillman, William Tillman was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of materials involving sexual exploitation of minors. In 2011, Tillman was ordered to pay more than $142,000 in restitution to his victims. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $131,800 toward this debt.
In the case of United States v. Spencer, Quince Lee Spencer was convicted for the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods, namely Nike, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger socks. In 2007, Spencer was ordered to pay more than $148,000 to the victim companies. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $128,000 in restitution through seizure of investment accounts, bank accounts and other assets, and the victims now have been repaid their losses in full.
In the case of United States v. Kleinman, Hagood, and Bellanca, the defendants were convicted in 2010 of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a scheme to defraud their employers by submitting false invoices to the companies. The defendants were ordered to repay the victim companies more than $3.2 million in losses. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $140,000 of this debt, and seized an additional $250,000 that will be returned to the victims in FY 2012.
In United States v. Klosek, Alexander Klosek was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and was ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution to more than 100 victims of his fraudulent investment scheme that offered bogus estate planning services to retirees. The district collected $1,083,131 for the victims in FY 2011.
In United States v. Lacy, Stephen Lacy was convicted in 2011 for conspiracy to defraud the United States related to an investment Ponzi scheme which targeted the elderly. Lacy was ordered to repay his victims $335,857, of which $200,000 was collected in FY 2011 for payment to the victims.
In United States v. Okojie, the defendant was convicted in 2010 of conspiracy to defraud the United States and was ordered to pay more than $10.3 million to his victims. The defendant and his co-conspirators operated a scheme wherein victims were told they were entitled to an inheritance from overseas or had won a lottery, and paid Okojie “fees” for the release of their prize or inheritance. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $476,000 for victims from the forfeiture of Okojie’s assets.
In United States v. Heavner, Tony Zane Heavner was convicted of filing false tax returns. The defendant was ordered to repay the government $76,736 in unpaid taxes, all of which was collected from the defendant in FY 2011.
In United States v. Rohm, Ray Rohm was convicted of money laundering related to an insurance fraud scheme. In 2010, Rohm was ordered to repay his victim more than $840,000. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $168,000 of the debt. To date, the victim has received more than $202,000 of its losses.
In United States v. Williams, Chester Williams was convicted of bank fraud and filing false tax returns related to embezzlement from his employer. Williams was ordered to pay $210,000 in restitution. In FY 2011, the District collected more than $30,000 for his victims. The funds collected include 100% of Williams’ ongoing monthly pension payments, which are subject to garnishment, and seizure of more than $10,000 from an investment account he failed to disclose to the sentencing court or in a prior bankruptcy case.
National Collections in Criminal and Civil Cases and Forfeiture Actions Brought by U.S. Attorneys 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 $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.
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 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, and Small Business Administration.
Additionally, the U.S. 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