By Frank Lewis
U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart announced today that the Southern District of Ohio collected nearly $55 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015. Of this amount, nearly $46 million was collected in criminal actions and in addition, the Southern District of Ohio worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $49.7 million in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, approximately $7 million was collected in criminal actions and $42.5 million was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Southern Ohio, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected nearly $18 million in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2015. 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 yesterday that the Justice Department collected $22.9 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.
The more than $22.9 billion in collections in FY 2015 represents more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
“The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” Lynch said. “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”
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 collection figures in our district and across the country highlight the Justice Department’s work to protect our citizens and safeguard taxpayer resources,” Stewart said. “We are dedicated to providing a valuable return on investment to the American people.”
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 financial, health, safety, civil rights and 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.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.