4-9.000 Financial Litigation Policy

4-9.100 Introduction
4-9.110 Enforcement Responsibility
4-9.120 Designation of Assistant United States Attorney Responsible for Financial Litigation
4-9.130 Standards for Debt Collection Action
4-9.150 Outreach
4-9.200 Reporting and Management-Financial Litigation Plan
4-9.210 Case Tracking System
4-9.220 Financial Litigation Records
4-9.230 Report to United States Attorney on Accomplishments

4-9.100 - Introduction

The Department of Justice places a high priority on effective government-wide debt collection efforts. In connection with this priority, the Department of Justice has emphasized that the role of United States Attorneys is to litigate vigorously and to enforce the collection of debts due victims of crime and the United States. Prompt and effective action is necessary if debtors are to respect the Department’s ability and authority to collect these debts.

[added May 2018]

4-9.110 - Enforcement Responsibility

The United States Attorneys’ offices handle most financial litigation matters for the United States. Each United States Attorney is responsible for conducting, handling, or supervising such litigation or other actions as may be appropriate to accomplish the satisfaction, collection or recovery of judgments, fines, restitution, penalties, assessments, court costs and appearance bond forfeitures imposed in the district. However, an Assistant Attorney General, or delegate of the litigating division which has jurisdiction of the case in which such judgment, fine, penalty or forfeiture is imposed, may notify the United States Attorney in writing that the division will assume enforcement responsibilities. See 28 C.F.R. § 0.171(a).

[added May 2018]

4-9.120 - Designation of a Financial Litigation Coordinator – the Assistant United States Attorney Responsible for Financial Litigation

The importance attached to financial litigation by the Department of Justice is reflected in the requirements of 28 C.F.R. § 0.171(b), which reads:

Each United States Attorney shall designate an Assistant United States Attorney, and such other employees as may be necessary, or shall establish an appropriate unit within [the] office, to be responsible for activities related to the satisfaction, collection, or recovery, as the case may be, of judgments*, fines, penalties, and forfeitures (including bail-bond forfeitures).

The designated AUSA is the Financial Litigation Coordinator, and financial litigation should be the primary responsibility of the AUSA.  In smaller United States Attorneys’ offices, this may be a collateral duty for the designated AUSA.

*Judgments include all civil and criminal monetary obligations including restitution, fines and special assessments.

[added May 2018]

4-9.130 - Standards for Debt Collection Action

All financial litigation action by Department of Justice personnel should meet the highest ethical and professional standards.  Statutory limitations on the activities of private collection agents and agencies are found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692. These limitations do not apply to activities undertaken by United States Attorneys’ offices to enforce collection of debts due the United States or victims of crime. Nevertheless, whenever specific activities by private collection agents are limited by statute, and such activities are analogous to those of United States Attorneys’ offices, the statutory limitations should be followed.

[added May 2018]

4-9.150 - Outreach


All Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel should maintain close working relationships with representatives of their client agencies. It is the responsibility of the United States Attorney’s office to ensure that client agencies are kept fully informed of efforts undertaken by United States Attorney personnel on referred debt claims.

Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Unit personnel should also maintain close working relationships with representatives of the Clerk of Court, United States Probation and Pretrial Services, United States Marshals Service and any state agency which may provide assistance in the handling of financial litigation matters.

See USAP 3-9.100.001 (Financial Litigation Personnel, Outreach, Reporting and Media).

[added May 2018]

4-9.200 - Reporting and Management—Financial Litigation Plan

Each United States Attorney’s office must have in place a current Financial Litigation Plan. The Asset Recovery Staff, Executive Office for United States Attorneys provides a “Model Plan” to be customized by each United States Attorney’s office to reflect its specific procedures and qualitative goals in financial litigation.

[added May 2018]

4-9.210 - Case Tracking System

All Financial Litigation/Asset Recovery Units should have and make full use of the Department-wide debt collection tracking system—the Consolidated Debt Collection System (CDCS). CDCS will serve to ensure that all required financial litigation activity is recorded and any necessary follow-up is performed in an efficient and timely manner.

In addition, each United States Attorney’s office must follow established Internal Controls procedures for the processing of payments received on civil and criminal debts. 

See USAP 3-11.100.001 – 3-11.146.001.

[added May 2018]

4-9.230 - Report to United States Attorney on Accomplishments

The Assistant United States Attorney responsible for financial litigation shall provide a report to the United States Attorney each month, or as required by the United States Attorney, summarizing the accomplishments of the Unit during the preceding period and providing any further information as to financial litigation activity as may be requested by the United States Attorney.

[added May 2018]

Updated September 19, 2018