United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Donna Krise
TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2008 ACTING PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe PHONE: (936) 639-4003
U. S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SEIZES TAX
REFUNDS FOR PAYMENT OF FINES, RESTITUTION
(Tyler, TX) United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that since January 2008 the Eastern District of Texas has seized more than $170,000 in federal tax refund checks, including economic stimulus checks and other federal benefits, pursuant to a federal program to capture such refunds to pay outstanding criminal debts, including fines and restitution owed to victims. The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a federally managed program to ensure that convicted criminals don't benefit from tax refunds and other federal payments to the detriment of debts owed the federal government or victims of crime. Locally, it is managed by the Financial Litigation Unit in the Tyler office of the U. S. Attorney's Office.
Even criminals serving terms of imprisonment who owe substantial fines or restitution to victims would receive their tax refunds without this program. However, by timely intervention using the TOP program, the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas and other offices nationwide can divert those refunds to pay felons' debts.
The Eastern District of Texas has, in calendar year 2008, collected tax refunds, stimulus checks, and other federal benefits from more than 140 convicted felons, including one in excess of $26,000. The average amount collected was $1,225. Across the country, more than $6.23 million has been collected since January 2008. Since its inception, the program has targeted more than 34,400 criminal debts totaling over $5.28 billion.
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