Western Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects $52.9M In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2014
PITTSBURGH - U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton announced today that the Western District of Pennsylvania collected $52,907,460.41 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2014. Of this amount, $48,907,638.51 was collected in criminal actions and $3,999,821.90 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the Western District of Pennsylvania worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $11,552,124.98 in cases pursued jointly with these offices.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Western Pennsylvania, working with partner agencies and divisions, also collected $18,795,930.00 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 last week 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.”
U.S. Attorney Hickton said, “The $52.9 million collected in FY 2014 is roughly five times the amount of money the federal government allocates us to operate our office, and represents a five-fold increase over the amount of money recovered in FY 2010 when we reorganized the office to improve our collections performance.”
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.