Attorney General Merrick Garland Honors Three Spokane Federal Prosecutors for their Outstanding Government Service
Spokane, Washington – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that his office collected the sum of $61,950,459 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Of this amount, $2,603,880 constituted restitution collected in criminal actions on behalf of victims of crime, and $59,346,578 was collected in civil actions.
U.S. Attorney Hyslop stated, “This is a substantial sum of which we are immensely proud. It is great news for the residents of this District and this Country. It is an equally great testament to the diligent work of the attorneys and staff of United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington who have achieved this.”
Hyslop continued, “This sum represents two types of funds. First, when a person is sentenced by the Court for a crime, we ask the Court to also order the convicted felon to pay restitution to those hurt physically or financially by the crime. We do all we can to protect the rights of crime victims and to collect these funds in order to ensure that they are financially restored, if possible. As a result of our added emphasis, we have successfully collected more restitution year after year since 2017 leading to a nearly 100% increase in just four years. The second part represents collections where civil fraud is punished, and civil financial obligations are satisfied.”
Examples of a few successful criminal and civil collections by the Eastern District of Washington in FY 2020 include:
• $57.5 million paid by Bechtel National Inc., a Department of Energy contractor at the Hanford nuclear site, in settlement of civil fraud claims;
• Full recovery of restitution to crime victims in multiple Project Safe Childhood (child exploitation and child pornography) cases, such as United States v. Dale Black in the amount of $400,000 and United States v. Jeffrey Jon Franklin in the amount of $11,000;
• Recovery of more than $930,000 in criminal restitution for the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration related to criminal tax and theft of government funds cases; and
• $1.1 million recovered for the United States Forest Service and Department of Interior as result of an affirmative civil enforcement case arising out of the August 19, 2015 Twisp River Fire in Okanogan County.
Nationally, the United States Justice Department (DOJ) collected more than $15.9 billion in civil and criminal actions in FY 2020 ending Sept. 30, 2020. The nearly $16 billion recovered in FY 2020 represents more than five times the approximately $3.2 billion appropriated budget for the DOJ’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and its main litigating divisions during that same period. The total includes all monies collected as a result of Justice Department-led enforcement actions and negotiated civil settlements. It includes more than $13.5 billion in payments made directly to the Justice Department and more than $2.4 billion in indirect payments made to other federal agencies, states and other designated recipients.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the DOJ’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 collected to federal and 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, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.