U.S. Attorney's Office collects nearly $25 million for taxpayers from criminal and civil actions
Funds are four times the entire operating cost for the district
SAVANNAH, GA: U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine announced today that the Southern District of Georgia recovered more than $24.5 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2018. The total is nearly four times the $6.25 million appropriated for operation of the Southern District office for 2018.
Of this total amount, $5.2 million was recovered in criminal actions, $14.6 million was recovered in civil actions and $4.7 million was recovered from defendants through the asset forfeiture process.
Included within this total is $9.1 million that was recovered from cases jointly pursued by the Southern District of Georgia, other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and other components of the Department of Justice.
As a whole, the Justice Department collected nearly $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. The $14.8 billion in collections in FY 2018 is nearly seven times the appropriated $2.13 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices.
“Our office’s Asset Recovery Unit, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier A. Cunningham, along with our Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Thomas Clarkson, have performed outstanding work in recovering restitution for crime victims and providing the legal legwork that substantiates the fines, penalties and forfeitures from criminal and civil defendants,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “This effort emphasizes the importance of holding people and entities financially accountable for their actions, and providing a measure of restorative justice to those harmed by illegal activity.”
Examples of significant collections during Fiscal Year 2018 include:
- In May 2018, in the nation’s largest settlement of its kind involving allegations of drug diversion at a hospital, Effingham Health System agreed to pay $4.1 million to resolve allegations that the company failed to guard against theft and loss of controlled substances;
- In April 2018, the Southern District recovered $245,228 from defendant Brandon Sapp, the convicted leader of a WIC and Food Stamp fraud ring; and,
- In August 2018, the Southern District recovered $82,761 from defendant Michael Brian Anderson, a former Savannah shrimper who was convicted of money laundering and defrauding U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), by filing false claims under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000.
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 United States 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.
Nationwide, 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, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.
“The men and women of the U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country work diligently, day in and day out, to see that the citizens of our nation receive justice. The money that we are able to recover for victims and this country as a whole is a direct result of their hard work,” Director James A. Crowell, IV, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.