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Dec. 16, 2010

U.S. ATTORNEYS' OFFICES CONTRIBUTED TO $6.68 BILLION IN CIVIL & CRIMINAL COLLECTIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2010

Recoveries Largest in History
Southern District - Ranked Second Nationally -- Collects Almost One-Sixth of the National Total

(HOUSTON) - U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced that financial collections by the Department of Justice in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 reached an all-time high due to the efforts of the U.S. Attorneys' offices nationwide. The 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices nation-wide contributed to the collection of $6.68 billion during the government's fiscal year. This amount is the most successful collection year by the U.S. Attorney's offices.  

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas collected $1,035,128,885.20 in FY 2010, almost one-sixth of the total collected nation-wide, and ranked second out of all the U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationally. Of this amount, $215,646,485.01 was collected in criminal actions and $819,482,400.19 was collected in civil actions. A total of $764,753.72 of the amount collected through civil actions were derived from shared cases with the Department of Justice.  

“During this time of economic recovery, these collections are more important than ever,” said U.S. Attorney Moreno. "Recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime, while eliminating the profitability of unlawful conduct is as essential a function of this office. Verdicts and judgments in favor of the United States hold those responsible for illegal actions accountable to the public.”

The U.S. Attorneys' offices are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. Statistics from the Department of Justice indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions totaled $2.84 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.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys' offices contributed to the collection of $1.8 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2010. Forfeited assets are deposited into either the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. In the Southern District, our Asset Forfeiture and Financial Litigation Unit collected more than $74 million -- $53.5 million in criminal forfeitures and $18.1 million in civil forfeitures. More than $3.8 million in court ordered restitution was collected by this district in FY 2010 and restored to victims. Of that sum, approximately $1.5 million was derived from forfeited funds. 

The more than $215 million collected from criminal prosecutions for FY 2010 in the Southern District of Texas arise from a variety of cases including mortgage fraud, bank fraud, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, tax fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, bulk cash smuggling and violations of environmental law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Sherman Antitrust Act and International Emergency Economic Powers Act as well as international drug trafficking. 

The statistics also indicate that $3.84 billion was collected in 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.  Affirmative civil enforcement actions arising from False Claims Act and Stark Act violations as well as Health Care Fraud cases litigated in the Southern District of Texas by our Civil Division and the collection of debts owed to the United States from defaulted student, Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture loans litigated by our Financial Litigation Unit were the types of cases that contributed to the more than $819 million collected as a result of civil actions in the Southern District. Of the $819 million, $5,640,294.06 was collected from civil health care fraud litigation.   

The nationwide collection totals for FY 2010 represent nearly a 30% increase in criminal collections and 57% increase in civil collections over FY 2009. In FY 2009, the U.S. Attorneys' offices contributed to the collection of more than $4.6 billion. Of the amount collected, $2.23 billion was collected criminally and $2.44 billion was collected civilly. The significant increase in collections was due to various large criminal restitution cases as well as large health care fraud cases.

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