Eastern District of Virginia Recovers $77 Million in Debt Owed to U.S. Taxpayers in FY 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride announced today that the Eastern District of Virginia collected $77 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
In conjunction with these numbers, the Department of Justice announced that nationwide the agency collected over $6.5 billion in debts owed to taxpayers in the same period which ended on September 30, 2011.
According to statistics from the Department of Justice, of the $77 million collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, $12,251,565 was collected in criminal actions and $64,914,764 was collected in civil actions. A portion of this amount, $255,789, 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 $5,531,924 in criminal and civil forfeitures.
“My office is determined to recover money lost through fraud and hold those who take government money accountable for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.
In one of the largest recoveries in the previous fiscal year, the Eastern District of Virginia recovered $57,750,000 as part of the settlement of United States ex rel. Oberg v. Nelnet, Inc., et al., a whistleblower action under the False Claims Act. The whistleblower suit was filed by Dr. Jonathan Oberg, a former employee of the Department of Education, who alleged that several student aid lenders implemented billing systems that improperly inflated the lenders’ entitlement to certain interest rate subsidies from the Department of Education.
The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. Statistics from the Department indicate that the total amount collected nationwide 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.
Additionally, the Department of Justice collected $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions nationwide in FY 2011. 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.
The statistics also indicate that $3.83 billion was collected nationwide 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. 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.
For further information, the Department’s Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.To view the Department of Justice’s nationwide release, visit www.usdoj.gov.