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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Recovers more than $25 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions in Fiscal Year 2019

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

Assistant U. S. Attorney Leah Bussell (619) 546-6727   

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 23, 2019

SAN DIEGO – The Southern District of California collected $15,280,216.07 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2019.  Of this amount, $11,247,702.88 was collected in criminal actions and $4,032,513.19 was collected in civil actionsThe Southern District of California worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $1,991,480.00 in cases pursued jointly by these offices. 

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $10,665,224 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2019.  

“The recovery of stolen funds and the return of that money to victims is an important priority for this office,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We use all available legal tools to recover money for victims and ensure that defendants are held accountable for the full amount of the losses.  These results are a great credit to the hard work and dedication of our Asset Recovery section led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah Bussell and our outstanding team of agency partners.”

In one case in August, the U.S. Attorney’s Office recovered $2,934,754.01 in fraud proceeds from Karen Galstian. Galstian had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in November of 2015.  A court sentenced Galstian to 100 months custody and ordered him to pay restitution to the victim.  The United States Attorney’s office pursued collection of the restitution and in August of 2019, collected almost $3 million from assets owned by Galstian – funds that were distributed to the victim.

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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

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.



Updated December 23, 2019

Press Release Number: CAS19-1223-Collections