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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office/District Of New Jersey Collects $102.5 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions In Fiscal Year 2015

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today that the District of New Jersey collected $102,476,557 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015.  Of this amount, $64,631,183 was collected in criminal actions and $37,845,373 was collected in civil actions

The District of New Jersey worked with other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $9.27 billion in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $279,806 was collected in criminal actions and $9,265,900,389 was collected in civil actions.  

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.  The more than $23.1 billion in collections in FY 2015 represents more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

“Our office is responsible for keeping the public safe from all kinds of abuse, from violent crime to financial exploitation,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “As part of that mission, the public servants in our office continue collect far more in fines, penalties, asset forfeiture, restitution and settlements than our operating expenses. Using that money to make crime victims whole, invest in our law enforcement partners and help fund the general treasury is good economics and good for public safety.”

 “The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver.  I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”

For example, in the District of New Jersey in December 2014, OtisMed Corp. and its former chief executive officer admitted intentionally distributing knee replacement surgery cutting guides after their application for marketing clearance had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the corporation agreed to pay more than $80 million to resolve its related criminal and civil liability. The company was fined $34.4 million and ordered to pay $5.16 million in criminal forfeiture. In a separate civil settlement, OtisMed agreed to pay $40 million plus interest to resolve its civil liability.    

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.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $18,808,153 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2015. 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.

As a result of criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey in conjunction with partner agencies and divisions, $18,808,153 was deposited into the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury asset forfeiture funds in FY 2015. Monies from the assets forfeiture funds are returned to victims of financial crimes and used for various law enforcement purposes.

In FY 2015 the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey also obtained final orders of forfeiture for property that is being held pending sale, including 2,251 pieces of artwork valued at more than $15 million that the government’s complaint alleged was purchased by Philip Rivkin with the proceeds of a fraudulent scheme that sold fake credits for renewable energy. In June, Rivkin pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Texas to mail fraud and a Clean Air Act violation. The forfeited artwork includes works by some of the country’s most influential photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. The numerous Stieglitz prints include a waxed palladium print titled “Georgia O’Keeffe,” which Rivkin purchased for $675,000, and numerous prints of Marilyn Monroe.

Updated February 4, 2016

Press Release Number: 15-443