U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama Collects Over $2.6 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2016
Montgomery, Alabama- U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. announced today that the Middle District of Alabama collected $2,639,626.76 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2016. Of this amount, $2,317,486.29 was collected in criminal actions and $322,140.47 was collected in civil actions.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 that the Justice Department collected nearly $15.4 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016. The $15,380,130,434 in collections in FY 2016 represents more than five times the appropriated $2.93 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period.
In addition to the $2.6 million collected above, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Middle District of Alabama working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $877,880.00 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2016. 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.
One example of a significant asset forfeiture occurred in September 2016 when the Middle District of Alabama recovered $404,135.00 as part of the settlement in the Curtis Pope case. On August 11, 2015, a state trooper conducted a commercial vehicle safety inspection on a tractor trailer that was not carrying any cargo. After a K-9 alerted to the presence of the odor of narcotics within the cabin of the vehicle, the trooper discovered in excess of $500,000.00 in U.S. currency within vacuum-sealed bags hidden within the mattress, along with dryer sheets. The driver admitted to log book violations and to the fact that he neither delivered nor picked up a load to transport during the trip.
“Every day, the men and women of the Department of Justice work tirelessly to enforce our laws, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used properly and that the American people are protected from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Today’s announcement is a testament to that work, and it makes clear that our actions deliver a significant return on public investment. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this year's collections possible, and I want to emphasize that the department remains committed to the well-being of our people and our nation.”
“My office is committed to protecting the public and recovering funds for the victims of crime as well as every taxpayer,” said U.S. Attorney Beck. “Unfortunately, there is enormous profit in crime and these profits come at the expense of hardworking citizens. We will continue to hold accountable, both civilly and criminally, those who seek to make money from illegal activities. I am also pleased that a significant amount of the asset forfeiture funds collected are returned to state and local law enforcement agencies who already struggle with limited budgets and resources.”
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.