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$5.5 million collected in actions by local U.S. attorney

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS – U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton, who represents the Southern District of Illinois, says the district collected $5,490,994.09 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2014.

Of that amount, $1,574,414.70 was collected in criminal actions and $3,916,579.39 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 $5,174,776.44 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $8,746.63 was collected in criminal actions and $5,166,029.81was collected in civil actions.

Attorney General Eric Holder also announced today 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 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.

Holder said some of that amount came in “holding financial institutions accountable for their roles in causing the 2008 financial crisis.”

Wigginton highlighted his biggest case of the year.

“We recovered $3,300,000 as part of the settlement in a qui tam case filed against Kmart Corp.,” he said. “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 re-imbursement 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 $1,745,492.00 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.

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