News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

U.S. Attorney’s Office Recovers More Than $74 Million For U.S. Taxpayers And Crime Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2011

(Seattle) – U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington collected more than $74 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY 2011 October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011).

In conjunction with these numbers, the Department of Justice announced that nationwide the Department collected over $6.5 billion in debts owed to taxpayers in the same period which ended on September 30, 2011.  

Of the $74.1 million collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, $55.6 million was related to criminal prosecutions and $18.5 million was collected in civil actionsA significant tool to hold individuals accountable is the ability to forfeit the proceeds of certain criminal activity.  A portion of the criminal collections, $19.6 million, is the result of criminal and civil forfeitures. 

 “A just result includes trying to recover restitution for individual victims and losses for taxpayers.  For example, the prosecution of corporate officers and lawyers in the Quellos tax fraud case resulted in payments of more than $30 million to the U.S. Treasury,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “On the forfeiture side, the prosecution of the Colacurcio criminal enterprise resulted in $3.5 million in forfeitures.  We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities.”

Other examples of revenue obtained by the office include more than $2.7 million in connection with investigations of illegal internet gambling activities.  The prosecution of cigarette smugglers in U.S. v. Goodridge, resulted in more than $538,000 in restitution being collected for Washington State for unpaid cigarette taxes.  In addition, criminal and civil action by the government resulted in the recovery of nearly $200,000 in restitution for the victims of high profile financial advisor Rhonda Breard who stole from her clients. 

The prosecutions of environmental crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office also resulted in more than $457,000 in community service payments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  The congressionally mandated Foundation provides funding for environmental remediation and education.  The nearly half million dollars in community service payments is in addition to the $74.1 million collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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 by DOJ 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.  Although 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 demonstrate that $3.83 billion was collected by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in individually and jointly handled nationwide civil actions.  The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases.  In these cases, 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.

In the Western District of Washington the largest single sum collected from Affirmative Civil Enforcement was $1.3 million obtained from the Center for Diagnostic Imaging for improper billing of government medical insurance programs.   

Additionally, nationwide 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

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