U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced today that the Northern District of Oklahoma collected $3,199,436.92 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2019. Of this amount, $1,211,753.29 was collected in criminal actions and $1,987,683.63 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the Northern District of Oklahoma worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $1,632,217.49 in cases pursued jointly. Of this amount, $686.89 was collected in criminal actions and $1,631,530.60 was collected in civil actions.
“The United States Attorney’s Office, working on behalf of American taxpayers and victims of crime, recovered more than $3 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2019. We recovered money defrauded from government programs and pursued substantial amounts in restitution and fines that go to victims or help provide critical victim related services,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The Asset Recovery Unit is a critical part of our team, and they do such great work for the cause of justice. I am so proud of our team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and legal assistants who work diligently to see that victims are restored, restitution and fines are paid, and civil financial obligations are satisfied.”
U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts. 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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Also, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1,324,755 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2019. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and are equitably shared for a variety of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement purposes.
In one case in the Northern District of Oklahoma, the court ordered a criminal defendant to pay $368,329 in restitution to the victim. The Asset Recovery Unit seized and forfeited two vehicles, a financial account, and proceeds from the sale of the convicted embezzler’s home. The government provided the funds as restitution to the victim. In another case, the Asset Recovery team seized more than $400,000 in real property, financial accounts, vehicles, and a yacht. The funds were also provided to the victim in the case.
In the Civil Division, the False Claims Act is an important tool used by the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit to protect the integrity of federal funds, such as taxpayer-funded health care programs. The Act allows the government to address losses it sustains by providing for treble damages and civil monetary penalties for each false claim made to the government. In April alone, two doctors settled with the United States for more than $350,000 for allegedly accepting illegal kickbacks. In both cases, the doctors immediately began making payments to restore taxpayer dollars illegally collected in the kickback schemes.