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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eastern District Of California U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects Over $9 Billion In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that the Eastern District of California collected a record amount for American taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2014, which ended September 30, 2014. The office, on its own and with other U.S. Department of Justice components, collected over $9 billion in Fiscal Year 2014. These figures reflect actual amounts collected, not judgment amounts.

The office collected $21,303,839 in criminal and civil actions it handled alone in the fiscal year. Of this amount, $8,183,129 was collected in criminal actions, including both fines and restitution for victims, and $13,120,710 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the Eastern District worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $8,979,244,434 in cases pursued jointly with those offices. Almost this entire amount is attributable to recoveries resulting from the settlement of the JPMorgan Chase case, including a $2 billion penalty directly attributable to this office’s investigation of wrongdoing relating to the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities by JPMorgan Chase. The total settlement was announced last November.

For the nation as a whole, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in Fiscal Year 2014. The more than $24 billion in collections in FY 2014 represents nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“Every day, the Justice Department’s federal prosecutors and trial attorneys work hard to protect our citizens, to safeguard precious taxpayer resources, and to provide a valuable return on investment to the American people,” said Attorney General Holder. “Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. And this result shows the fruits of the Justice Department’s tireless work in enforcing federal laws; in protecting the American people from violent crime, national security threats, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse; and in holding financial institutions accountable for their roles in causing the 2008 financial crisis.”

“This year was a record year for collections by this office, and I congratulate my team for the hard work reflected in these numbers” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We will remain dedicated to protecting the public, vigorously pursuing funds that rightfully belong to U.S. taxpayers, and seeking compensation for victims of federal crimes.”

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. 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 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 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, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

Included in the recovery figures, is a $9.9 million settlement with Medtronic Inc. of Fridley, Minnesota, to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that the company used various types of payments to induce physicians to implant pacemakers and defibrillators manufactured and sold by Medtronic. The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort among the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California; and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of California, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $25,637,920 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2014. The fiscal year was also a record for judicial asset forfeitures in the Eastern District of California. 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.

In one asset forfeiture that arose in a criminal case this past May, this office recovered more than $6.6 million as part of the forfeiture agreement in the U.S. v. Victor Anthony Nottoli case. Nottoli pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute at least 24 tons of misbranded smokable synthetic cannabinoids in retail outlets throughout the U.S. and from his six smoke shops in Fresno and Bakersfield.
Updated April 8, 2015