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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 22, 201903:29 PM EST

Local federal court collected more than $142 million in fines, forfeitures and levies

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Assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for law enforcement purposes.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Fines, forfeitures and levies totaling more than $142 million were collected in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida in fiscal year 2017-18, according to data released Thursday by U.S. Attorney for the Middle District Maria Chapa Lopez.

The district collected $38,073,605.20 in criminal and civil actions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Of the amount, $27,941,783.60 was collected in local civil actions and $10,131,821.60 was collected in criminal actions.

Also, the Civil Division recovered $96,663,640 on behalf of federal agencies and programs in affirmative civil enforcement cases.

The division works with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and with the Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section to address fraud schemes and illegal practices that occur beyond district boundaries.

Nearly $70 million was recovered in the jointly handled cases.

In addition, the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Division recovered $35,367,506 in asset forfeiture actions last fiscal year.

Assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for law enforcement purposes.

Nationwide, the Justice Department collected nearly $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, nearly seven times the $2.13 billion budget appropriated for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices.

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 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.

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 Defense Health Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.

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