Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas, Recovers $27 Million in Debt Owed to U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas collected $27,654,406.73 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
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.
According to statistics from the Department of Justice, of the $27,654,406.73 collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, $4,318931.10 was collected in criminal actions and $23,335.475.63 was collected in civil actions. A portion of this amount, $21,693.370.31, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorney’s offices or Department litigating divisions were also involved. Additionally, the office also collected approximately $24 million in criminal and civil forfeitures. Of that, approximately $4 million was shared with state and local law enforcement agencies in recognition of their assistance.
“Some of the most important priorities of this office are to recover debts owed the United States taxpayers, deprive wrong-doers of the economic benefits of their crimes, and provide restitution to victims of crime," said U.S. Attorney Bales. “We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities.”
For example, in July, the Eastern District of Texas recovered $431,728.89 toward the criminal restitution judgment in the case of a defendant found guilty of health care fraud. These funds were forfeited from the defendant's bank accounts and were then applied to payment of restitution to his victims, who are owed a total of almost $5,000,000.
In August, the Eastern District of Texas obtained a forfeiture judgment on an aircraft, valued at more than $1 million, that, according to evidence provided to the court, was being purchased for use in the narcotics trade in Mexico and Central America.
In September, the United States Attorney’s Office collected a $1,500,000 fine in its entirety related to interstate violations of wildlife statutes. That fine was in turn directed to local and federal law enforcement authorities.
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.