EAST ST. LOUIS — The Southern District of Illinois collected $5,490,994 in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2014, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton announced in a press release Wednesday.
Of this amount, $1,574,414 was collected in criminal actions and $3,916,579 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, Southern District of Illinois worked with other U.S. attorney’s offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $5,174,776 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $8,746 was collected in criminal actions and $5,166,029 was collected in civil actions.
Attorney General Eric Holder also announced Wednesday that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The more than $24 billion in collections in fiscal year 2014 represents nearly 8 1/2 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,” Holder said. “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.”
“As I have done for the last four years, I will continue to make crime pay the honest citizens of Southern Illinois. My office will not fail to collect monies due the United States,” Wigginton said. “Whether you illegally take money with a gun or with a pen, I will see that you are punished and that your ill-gotten gains are returned to the treasury of the United States. As an example, I would highlight our case where we recovered $3,300,000 as part of the settlement in a qui tam case filed against Kmart Corporation. The case involved Kmart improperly issuing gift cards to customers who moved their Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions to Kmart from competing pharmacies contrary to federal Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement regulations.”
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, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.
Additionally, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1,745,492 in asset forfeiture actions in fiscal year 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.