BOISE, ID. – United States Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today that his office’s Financial Litigation Unit collected more than $11.17 million in criminal restitution, fines, and assessments and in civil debts for the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2018. In some cases, the U.S. Attorney’s Office worked in conjunction with litigating components of the U.S. Department of Justice. Of the total collected, approximately $1,923,373 were criminal restitution, fines, and/or assessments, and approximately $9,251,990 were civil debts. In addition, the Asset Forfeiture Unit collected approximately $2,502,374 in proceeds and instruments of crime in criminal and civil forfeiture actions.
“The more than $13.6 million our staff collected for criminal restitution, fines, assessments, civil debts, and asset forfeiture exceeds the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s annual operational budget,” said Davis. “Our collection and asset forfeiture staff of attorneys, paralegals, analysts, and fiscal agents ensure that those who have caused loss to victims pay those victims back and ensure that those who have profited from committing crimes in the District of Idaho are deprived of the proceeds and tools of their crimes. These same folks also ensure that those who owe the federal government money, as a result of litigation in this District or as a result of longtime debt, make appropriate payments. This year, all of these dedicated individuals have done outstanding work and served this office, the taxpayers, and this community well,” Davis concluded.
Victims of crime receive funds collected in criminal restitution cases. In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through the Financial Litigation Unit, collected over $1.77 million in criminal restitution that was distributed to victims of crime. Other criminal collections such as fines go into the Crime Victims Fund. From there, funds are distributed to the Idaho Crime Victims Compensation Program, the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance, and similar programs across the country. Money recovered from the illegal proceeds of criminal activity through forfeiture is returned to victims, used to offset the costs of operating federal prisons, and shared with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to help fight crime. Other recoveries go back to agency creditors.
During the fiscal year, some notable criminal restitution collections include approximately $508,000 paid by the defendant in a failure to pay taxes case and over $267,000 collected from assets of a defendant in a wire fraud case. In addition, various homes were sold by defendants to partially or completely satisfy their restitution obligations. The Treasury Offset Program helped collect over $200,000 toward restitution debt.
Notable recoveries of the proceeds of crime through asset forfeiture include forfeitures of currency, vehicles, and real property seized as proceeds and facilitating property of drug trafficking and fraud. These included real properties in Caldwell, Nampa, Buhl and Washington State. Significant forfeitures included the sale of agricultural land in Buhl, Idaho, in United States v Saul, an organic seed fraud case; the sale of a residence in Nampa, Idaho in United States v. Wilfong, a methamphetamine distribution case; and the forfeiture of cash and other property in United States v. Toelle, a North Idaho oxycodone distribution case. Additionally, the Asset Forfeiture Unit used civil forfeiture to assist two Idaho companies to recover several hundred thousand dollars stolen in email fraud schemes. In some cases, the United States shared, or will share, seized money and property with local investigating agencies.
As for civil debts and penalties, the Financial Litigation Unit collects civil penalties for violations of regulations involving, among other things, controlled substances, environmental protection, damage to federal property, and procurement fraud. It also collects civil debts for defaulted loans.