U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTS NEARLY $33 MILLION IN JUDGMENTS, FINES AND RESTITUTION IN 2011
Monies to be Distributed to Victims and Government Agencies
FORT WORTH, Texas — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas collected approximately $32,990,249 in civil judgments and settlements as well as criminal monetary penalties in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, an approximate 36% increase from FY 2010. The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
“During this time of economic recovery and ‘belt tightening,’ these collections are more important than ever,” said U.S. Attorney Saldaña. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities and recover funds for their crime victims and the federal treasury.”
This majority (64%) of the total, approximately $20,964,122, is from civil judgments and settlements. The remainder (36%) of the total, approximately $12,026,127, represents criminal monetary penalties, consisting of fines, restitution and assessments. The District’s Financial Litigation Unit or FLU, (two attorneys, two paralegals, five collections agents and one contract employee) is responsible for these collections.
As part of that sum, the FLU initiated 180 Writs of Garnishment/Execution to seize more than $3.2 million in cash and property, which included a house valued at more than $1 million and several luxury vehicles. The cash seized represents defendants’ wages, retirement funds, stock portfolios and bank accounts. These Writs were initiated to enforce court orders involving monetary debts owed to the U.S. and victims of crime when defendants failed to pay.
The District’s FLU currently manages a civil and criminal debt portfolio of approximately $1.4 billion. Statistics show that last year, for every one dollar the FLU spent to collect funds, it collected $99.
The $20,964,122 total in civil judgments and settlements was collected in affirmative civil enforcement (ACE) cases, such as health care fraud against Medicare and Medicaid and procurement fraud relating to government contracts; cases involving physicians who breached their contractual commitments to the government with regard to medical school scholarships; cases involving defaulted, federally-insured student loans; bankruptcy cases resulting in satisfaction of debts owed to the government; civil penalty actions, and others. Civil collections by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are distributed to government agencies which have sustained losses through default, fraud or overpayment; to agencies which have assessed civil money penalties against violators of agency regulations; and otherwise to the general treasury.
Collecting restitution that is owed to crime victims remains the highest priority for the FLU. That restitution is distributed directly to the victims by the U.S. District Clerk’s Office. Criminal fines and assessments that are collected are deposited in the U.S. Crime Victims Fund and distributed annually to state programs that compensate crime victims and their families. Monies are allocated among various government agencies and to an emergency reserve fund to assist victims of terrorism.
Because of the outstanding collection efforts by U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country, millions of crime victims have been compensated for medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses. More than 2000 programs that provide direct assistance to crime victims and their families, including rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and crime abuse treatment programs, are supported by these collections.
(To learn more about the Crime Victims Fund, please visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/about/victimsfund.html or contact the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime at 1-800-851-3420.
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