The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that it collected approximately $6.4 million in criminal and civil matters in Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013).
Of the total amount, $2.9 million was collected in criminal cases; $3.5 million was collected in civil actions
Additionally, the staff of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District offices in Scranton, Harrisburg and Williamsport worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect jointly an additional $1.2 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Victim Rights and Asset Forfeiture Unit obtained approximately $5.8 million in forfeitures in criminal and civil cases, plus an additional $1.9 million in money judgments not yet collected.
Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for law enforcement purposes.
The office shared approximately $7.3 million in forfeited assets with 26 state and local law enforcement agencies in Fiscal Year 2013. Shared funds, which include forfeited assets deposited in previous years, are used by the state and local agencies to pay for services and needed equipment and supplies.
U.S. Attorney Peter Smith stated that, as an example of the success of the sharing program, in October 2013, nine local and state law enforcement agencies received a total of $2.3 million as their shares of funds forfeited in connection with the investigation and prosecution of an untaxed tobacco case by those agencies, the IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania during 2012-13.
The agencies included the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazelton, Dunmore, and Pocono Mountain Police Departments, the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police.
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 other 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.