How Much Did US Attorneys Collect This Year? Can You Say $6.5 Billion?
There can be no doubt that U.S. Attorneys across the country deal with plenty of financial fraud and other crimes. And, on one level, at least, it seems that they certainly are dealing with it.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2011, surpassing $6 billion for the second consecutive year. The $6.5 billion represents more than three times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2011.
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. Statistics indicate that the amount collected in criminal actions totaled $2.66 billion in restitution, criminal fines and felony assessments. 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 directly 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 statistics also indicate that $3.83 billion was collected by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in individually and jointly handled civil actions. 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 and Small Business Administration.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2011. Forfeited assets are deposited into either the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
The nationwide collection totals for the U.S. Attorneys’ offices for FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined is $13.18 billion, which represents more than a 50 percent increase over the FY 2008 and FY 2009 combined total of $8.5 billion.