U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
November 16, 2011
RHODE ISLAND U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE RECOVERS MORE THAN
$10.5 MILLION IN CIVIL & CRIMINAL ACTIONS IN FY 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island collected more than $10.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 in criminal and civil actions. Of the $10,518,096 collected, $8,970,628 was collected in criminal and civil forfeitures. Additionally, the office collected $763,025 in criminal actions and $784,442 was collected in civil 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 shared 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 offices for FY 2011.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “This office remains committed to its work protecting the public, whether that be by initiating federal prosecution when appropriate, or by ensuring that those who owe a financial debt to victims or taxpayers generally are held to account.”
As an example of the Office’s work in recovering funds for victims of federal crime and the federal treasury, U.S. Attorney Neronha pointed to the case against Chinese drug manufacturer Genescience Pharmaceutical Company and its CEO, Lei Jin. In FY 2011, they jointly forfeited $4.5 million after pleading guilty to illegally marketing human Growth Hormone in the U.S. The forfeiture was in addition to $2.7 million in profits previously forfeited from New York branches of Chinese banks in which Genescience maintained accounts.
U.S. Attorney Neronha noted that the most recent Department of Justice statistics do not reflect one of the largest forfeitures ever: online search engine Google Inc.’s $500 million forfeiture to the United States for allowing online Canadian pharmacies to place advertisements through its AdWords program targeting consumers in the United States, resulting in the unlawful importation of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the U.S. The forfeiture, paid to the federal government in Rhode Island in August 2011, but not yet distributed, will be represented in FY 2012 figures.
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.