U.S. Attorney’s Office For The Eastern District Of California Collects $63.8 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2013
Total Recoveries Including Shared Cases and Forfeitures Exceeds $81.9 Million
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California collected $63,833,023 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2013. Of this amount, $2,317,646 was collected in criminal actions and $61,515,377 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the Eastern District of California worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $11,917,100 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $108,208 was collected in criminal actions and $11,808,892 was collected in civil actions.
Total collections in civil and criminal cases involving the office, therefore, were in excess of $75.6 million. These figures represent actual dollars received, not judgment amounts.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $6,183,607 in asset forfeiture actions in FY2013. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. When forfeitures are added to collections in civil and criminal cases, total recoveries in FY 2013 involving the Eastern District exceeded $81.9 million.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
“The department’s enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the taxpayer,” said Attorney General Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the Department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”
“Financial recoveries are a critical part of the Department’s mission to hold those who violate the law accountable for the injury they cause to victims and the general public,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Each year we collect far more for victims and taxpayers than the total cost of operating our office. During this time of continued fiscal constraint, these collections are more important than ever. We will continue to aggressively pursue compensation from those who commit crimes in our district and civil wrongs, to ensure that the wrongdoers — not the public — bear the costs of unlawful conduct here in the Eastern District of California.”
Major recoveries in the Eastern District of California in FY 2013 included $45 million from PG&E and its contractor Provco for damages caused by the Power Fire, which burned approximately 13,000 acres of the El Dorado National Forest in October 2004, and an additional $5.5 million from PG&E and its contractors ACRT, Inc. & Davey Tree for damages caused by the James Fire on the Mendocino National Forest in June 2008. The district also recovered $14.2 million on a settlement of allegations that Adventist Health improperly compensated physicians who referred patients to Adventist’s White Memorial facility, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act and Stark Statute.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice 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.
The figures announced today do not include money recovered on the recent $13 billion settlement of fraud claims against JPMorgan Chase & Co. in connection with residential mortgage backed securities. Although several billion dollars has already been paid on that settlement, the payments were received in Fiscal Year 2014 (which began in October) and so will be included in a future announcement on recoveries during that fiscal year.