U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi Collects Almost $5 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2017
Third Largest Asset Forfeiture Collection Among Medium-Sized U.S. Attorney’s Offices Ranked in the Top Third of All U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Asset Forfeiture Collections
Jackson, Miss. – United States Attorney Mike Hurst announced today that the Southern District of Mississippi collected $4,678,223.77 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2017. Of this amount, $2,310,064.36 was collected in criminal actions and $2,368,159.41 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the Southern District of Mississippi worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the U.S. Department of Justice to collect an additional $9,899,364.47 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $8,008.00 was collected in criminal actions and $9,891,356.47 was collected in civil actions.
Overall, the Justice Department collected just over $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2017.
"This office will continue to be relentless in pursuing restitution for victims, seizing ill-gotten gains from criminals, and recovering funds owed to taxpayers. I commend the men and women in our office for their collection efforts on behalf of the American people through their tenacious pursuit of justice every single day," stated U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
On example of these collection efforts occurred this past August, when Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. ("HII"), a publicly traded company headquartered in Newport, Virginia, agreed to a $9.2 million settlement of allegations that it had violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the government for labor on U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships at its shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Under the settlement, the second largest under the False Claims Act in the history of the Southern District of Mississippi, HII paid the United States $7.9 million, which, combined with earlier repayments, resulted in the settlement recovery of approximately $9.2 million. The civil settlement resolved alleged labor mischarging on various
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard contracts dating back to 2003. The settlement also resolved claims disclosed by HII that it had billed the Navy and Coast Guard for dive operations to support ship hull construction that did not actually occur as claimed.
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 for the Southern District of Mississippi, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $5,414,108 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2017. This is the third largest collection among medium-sized U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the nation, and ranks in the top third of all U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. 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.