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Restitution: Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive restitution?

Under federal criminal code, 18 USC § 3663 victims of certain charged offenses are entitled to restitution for losses associated with the criminal offense. This is not a guarantee that you will receive restitution; rather, it is an order imposed on a defendant referred to as a judgment. There are factors involved which may impact your ability to receive restitution. If the defendant’s economic circumstances are limited, our office’s ability to obtain payment is restricted. However the United States Attorney’s Office will make every effort to reasonably collect restitution on your behalf.

When will I receive restitution?

At the sentencing hearing, the court will impose a judgment of restitution. The enforcement of that judgment begins after the defendant completes any period of incarceration, and will continue for 20 years. Generally, defendants will begin to make restitution payments once they start the supervised release portion of their sentence. While they are on supervised release status, the defendant will be monitored by a U.S. Probation Officer who will determine a restitution payment schedule. As the defendant makes payments, the Clerk’s office will distribute collected payments a minimum of 30 days after receipt. Once a defendant completes his/her period of supervised release, the United States Attorney’s Office Financial Litigation Unit will continue to monitor and enforce the collection of restitution for the remaining balance of the 20 years.

How much restitution should I expect to receive?

Unless otherwise ordered in the court’s judgment, restitution is distributed to all victims listed in the judgment on a pro-rata basis (if there is more than one victim). This essentially means that you will be given restitution relative to the amount of loss they experienced as a result of the crime.

Does the government seize assets as part of the criminal case?

Whenever possible, the United States Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unite seizes assets generally associated with the charged crime. The Asset Forfeiture Unit may request that any seized or forfeited funds or property be used to compensate victims for any unpaid balance of the restitution order.

Updated January 7, 2021