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Press Release

Northern District Of California U.S. Attorney’S Office Collects Over 394 Million Dollars In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2013

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

San Francisco – United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced today that the Northern District of California collected $394,282,021.52 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2013 – the second highest amount of money collected by a U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. Of this amount, $382,346,662.83 was collected in criminal actions and $11,935,358.69 was collected in civil actions.

Additionally, the Northern District of California worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $185,079,434.25 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $3,851.92 was collected in criminal actions and $185,075,582.33 was collected in civil actions.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013.

The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“The department’s enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the American people,” said Attorney General Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”

“Long after defendants are sentenced, this office’s financial litigation team works exhaustively to ensure debts are paid to the government and victims,” said United States Attorney Melinda Haag. “The extraordinary results of this hard work are evident in the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by this office last year alone.”

This past May, the District of Northern California recovered $40,000,375 in criminal fines in the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. case, CR-0333-001 JCS, in addition to $20 million for environmental projects, with $4.5 million to be spent in the Bay Area. This case related to Wal-Mart violation of the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also pleaded guilty in Kansas City, Mo., to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers at its stores across the country. As a result of the three criminal cases brought by the Justice Department, as well as a related civil case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wal-Mart paid approximately $81.6 million for its unlawful conduct. Coupled with previous actions brought by the states of California and Missouri for the same conduct, Wal-Mart ultimately paid a combined total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws.

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.



Updated November 18, 2014