U.S. Attorney’s Office collects more than $13.5 million in civil, criminal, asset forfeiture actions in FY2016
SHREVEPORT/LAFAYETTE/ALEXANDRIA/LAKE CHARLES/MONROE, La.: United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana collected $13,511,583.51 through civil, criminal and asset forfeiture actions in fiscal year 2016.
The District collected $8,839,501.29 in criminal actions and $3,757,876.02 in civil actions. Working with various other offices and components of the Department of Justice, the Western District of Louisiana collected an additional $1,973.20. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also worked with its partner agencies and divisions to collect $912,233 in asset forfeiture actions in FY2016. 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.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that the Justice Department collected nearly $15.4 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016. The $15,380,130,434 in collections in FY2016 represents more than five times the appropriated $2.93 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period.
Included in the FY2016 criminal collections for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Louisiana, is $4,030,739.79 collected from Pelican Refining Co., LLC. Pelican previously pleaded guilty to violations of the Clean Air Act and obstruction of justice.
Of the total amount collected by the District in FY2016, $733,140.33 was through garnishment proceedings commenced by the district’s Financial Litigation Unit (FLU). The significant increase collected through garnishment proceedings is due in part to the garnishment of various financial interests of debtors including retirement accounts, life insurance policies, wages and other financial accounts as well as the aggressive collection activity handled by the FLU. The largest recovery resulting from a garnishment proceeding in FY2016 occurred in United States v. Herbert Fouke, which was $69,259.98.
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 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.
“Every day, the men and women of the Department of Justice work tirelessly to enforce our laws, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used properly and that the American people are protected from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Today’s announcement is a testament to that work, and it makes clear that our actions deliver a significant return on public investment. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this year's collections possible, and I want to emphasize that the department remains committed to the well-being of our people and our nation.”
“It takes long hours and dedication from our attorneys and support staff to collect these funds,” stated U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley. “The numbers do not always reflect the work that goes into these collections, but it is a team effort. I am thankful for those in my office who for another year brought in a substantial amount in collections on behalf of the taxpayers, which made this milestone possible.”