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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office Collects $53 Million In Asset Forfeiture And More Than $17 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions




NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishmanannounced today that the New Jersey District, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected$52,963,571in asset forfeiture actions in Fiscal Year 2014; it also collected $17,289,649 – $15,063,556 in criminal actions and $2,226,093 in civil actions – during the same fiscal year.

 Additionally, New Jersey worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $27,762,608 in cases pursued jointly.         

Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billionin civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014.            Across the country, the more than $24 billion in collections in FY 2014 represents nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“Every day, the Justice Department’s federal prosecutors and trial attorneys work hard to protect our citizens, to safeguard precious taxpayer resources, and to provide a valuable return on investment to the American people,” Attorney General Holder said. “Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy.  And this result shows the fruits of the Justice Department’s tireless work in enforcing federal laws; in protecting the American people from violent crime, national security threats, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse; and in holding financial institutions accountable for their roles in causing the 2008 financial crisis.”   

“Over the past five years, the dedicated public servants in my office have collected substantially more in fines, penalties, restitution and settlements – more than $570 million – than it has cost to operate the office,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “That money is used in a variety of ways: It makes whole the victims of crimes , is shared with our state and local law enforcement partners, and returned to the general treasury for the benefit of all Americans.”

This past July, the District of New Jersey recovered $1.6 million as part of a total $10.4 million penalty against two shipping firms – Columbia Shipmanagement (Deutschland) GmbH (CSM-D), a German corporation, and Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd. (CSM-CY), company based in Cyprus. The companies had pleaded guilty to charges including violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Department of Justice’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 $52,963,571 in assets the District of New Jersey collected through forfeiture actions is deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.

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. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, the Internal Revenue Service and Small Business Administration.

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Updated March 18, 2015