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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Oklahoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

United States Attorney For Western District Of Oklahoma Involved In Collecting Over $36 Million In Fiscal Year 2014

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma -- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma was involved in collecting a total of $36,340,329.15 in civil and criminal cases and through asset forfeiture in Fiscal Year 2014, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney.

The Western District of Oklahoma collected $30,519,863.47 in criminal and civil actions handled by the district. Of this amount, $4,579,614.84 was collected in criminal actions and $25,940,248.63 was collected in civil actions.

The Western District also worked jointly with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $362,502.68 in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices.

Finally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also worked with partner agencies and divisions to collect an additional $5,457,963.00 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2014. 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 Eric Holder announced today that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014. The more than $24 billion in collections in FY 2014 represents nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

"Every day, the Justice Department’s federal prosecutors and trial attorneys work hard to protect our citizens, to safeguard precious taxpayer resources, and to provide a valuable return on investment to the American people," said Attorney General Holder. "Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. And this result shows the fruits of the Justice Department’s tireless work in enforcing federal laws; in protecting the American people from violent crime, national security threats, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse; and in holding financial institutions accountable for their roles in causing the 2008 financial crisis."

"These results are due to the outstanding work done by the talented women and men in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, particularly in our Asset Recovery Unit," said Coats. "Our Office is clearly dedicated to recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from fraud and other illegal activities."

Significant Cases in the Western District of Oklahoma

In May of 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office recovered $23,981,669.78 in the bankruptcy of Stelera Wireless, LLC, a rural internet broadband service provider in Texas, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico. Stelera had received loans from the Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote distance learning, telemedicine initiatives and rural broadband access. Stelera defaulted on its note and sought bankruptcy protection. During the bankruptcy case, the United States recovered the loan amounts owed after defeating arguments that the loan was not properly secured and that the debt should be reclassified and written down.

In January of 2014, Wildcat Concrete Services, Inc., a Kansas corporation, paid $372,750 to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund as part of a non-prosecution agreement with the United States arising from the destruction of cliff swallow nests during a bridge repair project that were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In October of 2013, SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, Inc., which owns and operates St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, agreed to pay $475,000 to the United States to settle civil claims relating to SSM’s billing Medicare for inpatient services that should have been billed as outpatient services.

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.

Updated December 15, 2014