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Press Release

United States Attorney Announces Financial Recoveries of Over $14 Million in Eastern Wisconsin and Over $24 Billion Nationwide on Behalf of United States Taxpayers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney James L. Santelle today announced that, in Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014), the Eastern District of Wisconsin Office collected $14,054,999.07 in criminal and civil collections and in asset forfeiture actions.  This amount includes $2,530,748.94 in criminal cases, $4,581,800.13 in civil matters, and $6,942,450.00 in forfeiture proceedings.   

Santelle announced further that, in its partnered work with other United States Attorneys’ Offices and litigating components of the United States Department of Justice, the Office of the United States Attorney in Eastern Wisconsin collected an additional $731,108.81.   Of this amount, $16,492.71 was collected in criminal actions, and $714,616.64 was collected in civil actions.  The combined, total financial recovery of more than $14 million is more than twice the annual budget for the operation of the entire office in Eastern Wisconsin.         

Today’s announcement of total financial recoveries in Eastern Wisconsin follows the related announcement by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. that, in this same time period—that is, Fiscal Year 2014—the Department as a whole collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions. 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices nationwide and the Washington-based litigating divisions for Fiscal Year 2014.

“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.”   

Joining the Attorney General in these significant announcements, Santelle commented:  “I am proud of the highly professional, dedicated, and productive work of my staff—including all of our criminal and civil attorneys and our equally stellar professional support personnel—who are collectively responsible for bringing into the coffers of the United States Treasury these significant sums on behalf of our constituents—the people of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  In our daily efforts to enforce the many civil and the criminal judgments entered in favor of the United States of America, we are aggressive yet even-handed, purposeful yet fair, and creative yet balanced in meeting one of our principal missions—that is, collecting monies due and owing to the federal government.”

The Offices of the United States Attorneys, along with the Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts that are owed to the United States and that are due to victims of various types of financial crimes.  Federal law contemplates that defendants convicted of crimes pay restitution to those victims who have suffered physical injuries or financial losses.  While restitution is paid directly to the victims, criminal fines and related assessments are paid to the United States Department of Justice’s Crime Victims Fund, which, in turn, distributes monies to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.     Similarly, forfeited assets—the product of joint work with federal, state, and local law enforcement offices and units—are deposited into the Department’s Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund, from which they are used to restore monies to crime victims and to support a variety of equally beneficial law enforcement missions and goals. 

Santelle explained further: “As in past years, our affirmative civil docket continues to generate significant sums of money which we recover in pursuing fraud and other types of misconduct in the administration of federal dollars; these sums also include fines and penalties imposed on individuals and corporations for their proven violations of federal health care, safety, civil rights, environmental, education, and other program-type laws.”  These civil monetary obligations are enforced by the Office of the United States Attorney on behalf of many federal agencies—including but not limited to the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Education, the United States Department of Health & Human Services, the United States Department of the Treasury (including the Internal Revenue Service), and the United States Small Business Administration.

Santelle concluded: “In their focused and effective invocation of federal civil and criminal mechanisms and administrative processes, the staff of our Financial Litigation Unit, the staff of our Asset Forfeiture Unit, and our industrious colleagues in the many federal agencies that we represent collaboratively recover and return significant amounts of money on behalf of the people of this district.  Our enforcement actions not only promote the rule of law and serve the ends of justice but also confirm that investment in and support of the mission and the purpose of United States Attorneys’ Offices is sound and beneficial.”

For further information about the information and commentary in this release, please contact Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig, Office of the United States Attorney, at (414) 297-1700, or at

Updated January 29, 2015