LOS ANGELES – United States Attorney Nicola T. Hanna announced today that his office collected $219,179,887 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2017. Of this amount, nearly $56 million was collected in criminal cases, and more than $163 million was collected in civil actions.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect another $431,216,222 in cases that were pursued jointly with at least one other office. The vast majority of this money was collected in civil actions. Overall, the Justice Department collected just over $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the 2017 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2017.
Additionally, the United States Attorney’s office, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $34,749,352 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2017. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
“Each and every year, this office is involved in the collection and recovery of tens of millions of dollars that are used to assist crime victims, as well as help fund important government programs,” said United States Attorney Hanna. “The United States Attorney’s Office is dedicated to recovering criminal restitution owed to the victims of federal crimes and recouping losses sustained by taxpayers as a result of fraud.”
The United States Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States, as well as criminal debts owed to victims of federal crimes. Federal 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 to victims, 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.
Of the approximately $56 million collected in criminal cases this past year, approximately $44.6 million in restitution was collected and disbursed directly individuals and private entities, and $1.6 million was paid directly to the Crime Victims Fund. Most of the remaining $10 million was disbursed to federal agencies that suffered losses.
The largest civil collections last year 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 and environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.
During fiscal year 2017, prosecutors in the Central District of California recovered $42 million from a settlement with Pacific Alliance Medical Center to resolve allegations that the medical center had improper financial relationships with referring physicians. Additionally, the Office recovered $26.5 million from a settlement with the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for environmental and property damage sustained as a result of the 2013 Powerhouse Fire, which scorched more than 30,000 acres in northern Los Angeles County and destroyed 58 structures.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is based in Los Angeles and has branch offices in Santa Ana and Riverside. Currently, approximately 275 Assistant United States Attorneys serve nearly 20 million residents of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
Assistant United States Attorney Indira Cameron-Banks is the Chief of the Financial Litigation Section in the Civil Division. The Financial Litigation Section coordinates efforts to collect criminal and civil debts owed to victims of federal crimes and the United States, including restitution, fines, civil settlements, penalties and defaulted federal loans. These efforts include locating debtors’ assets and initiating enforcement actions to secure collection on the outstanding debts.