Western District Of Texas U.S. Attorney's Office Collected Over $20 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2014
United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced today that the Western District of Texas (WDTX) collected $20,238,152 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2014. Of this amount, $8,945,457.88 was collected in criminal actions and $11,292,694.70 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the Western District of Texas worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $12,748,758.80 in civil actions pursued jointly with these offices.
“While convictions and prison terms get a lot of attention, these collections demonstrate that we vigorously pursue justice on behalf of victims and the citizens of the Western District of Texas. These collection figures, together with the asset forfeiture recoveries, show that we will make strong efforts to separate ill-gotten gains from those who violate criminal and civil laws, and hold them fully accountable,” stated United States Attorney Robert Pitman.
In San Antonio, the WDTX collected $450,000 restitution in December from Thomas Shriver. Shriver was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay restitution for his role in a Health Care fraud scheme.
In July, the WDTX collected $311,000.00 towards defendant Sherri Lynn Brewer’s Court ordered restitution. On August 2, 2013, Brewer was sentenced to serve 15 years of probation and to pay $6,445,370 in restitution for contract procurement fraud against the United States Air Force.
In December, the WDTX collected $178,166.25 from Jimmie Fulton Gibson. Gibson was sentenced to 15 years incarceration followed by a lifetime of supervised release for receipt of child pornography. At sentencing, the Court ordered that Gibson pay a fine for his cost of incarceration at $2,000.00 per month from his military retirement.
In El Paso, the WDTX collected $223,413.80 restitution in January from Albert G. Torres who was convicted of wire fraud and deprivation of honest services and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for defrauding the City of El Paso with respect to contracts for repairs and service to city garbage trucks.
In Midland, the WDTX collected $100,000 towards restitution in August from Jose Luis Suarez. In June, Suarez was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment and ordered to pay approximately $229,000 restitution for subscribing false tax returns.
In November 2013, the WDTX collected $84,000 from Tammie Stephens following her conviction for wire fraud. At sentencing, the Court ordered Stephens to pay $84,000 restitution for embezzling from her employer, Big Lake Service.
In April, the WDTX collected $43,872.14 towards restitution from Brantten Rhodes. Last November, Brantten was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $235,300 for stealing copper wire from oilfield drilling rigs.
In Austin, the WDTX collected $61,000 towards restitution in March from Christina Newsome. On April 15, 2013, Newsome was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $240,132.32 in restitution for a Health Care fraud and money laundering scheme.
In August, the WDTX collected $17,924.61 towards restitution from Manuel Hernandez for defrauding FEMA. Last year, Hernandez was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $30,000 restitution and a $3,000 fine for making a false claim to FEMA that his primary residence was destroyed as a result of the Labor Day 2011 wildfires in Bastrop County.
In Del Rio, the WDTX collected $61,000 restitution in July from John Andrew Cardenas who was convicted of aiding and abetting the preparation and presentation of a false and fraudulent federal tax return.
In Waco, the WDTX collected $20,157.32 towards restitution last month from Jamal and Magdalena Akhter. In August 2013, the Akhters were sentenced to 21 months and 18 months in federal prison, respectively, and ordered to pay $295,737.64 in restitution to the USDA following wire fraud convictions for fraudulently handling SNAP benefits.
In Pecos/Alpine, the WDTX collected $8,800 from Billy Wayne King this year. In August 2010, King was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The $8,800 was collected in April, June and October thereby paying off King’s debt in full.
Those cases were reflected in today’s announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder 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.”
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 in the Western District of Texas, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $10,925,262 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.