U.S. Attorney’s Office Returns more than $235 Million to Crime Victims

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling has announced that the District of Massachusetts collected more than $235 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2020. Of this amount, $208,282,537 was collected in civil actions, including $77,933,472 in restitution for crime victims, and $27,194,175 was collected in criminal actions.   

“I’m proud of the work the civil and criminal prosecutors in my office have done to secure more than $235 million in collections, restitution to crime victims, and asset forfeitures, in 2020 alone,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “The District of Massachusetts has long been a leader in financial recoveries in the areas of health care fraud, securities fraud and civil settlements, and we will continue to aggressively pursue collections that return money to victims of crime and U.S. taxpayers, and deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains.”

The 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices jointly collected over $8 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020. The $8,064,931,805 in collections in FY 2020 represents nearly four times the appropriated $2.25 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.

The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases by the Office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit, which recovered government money lost to fraud or other offenses. Settlements with three pharmaceutical companies for illegal use of third-party foundations as conduits to pay kickbacks account for the office’s largest civil collections. In September 2020, Gilead Sciences paid $97 million and Novartis paid $51 million in July 2020, and Sanofi-Aventis paid $11.85 million in February. 

In addition to these civil and criminal collections, in Fiscal Year 2020 the Office’s Asset Recovery Unit was responsible for the collection of $77,933,472 in restitution for crime victims, as well as forfeiture of $22,449,306 in criminal proceeds or other property involved in crimes. The Asset Recovery Unit locates, seizes, and forfeits proceeds of crime, including health care fraud, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, drug trafficking, as well as money and property involved in money laundering. The Unit pursues forfeiture of ill-gotten gains both domestically and abroad and works closely with units across the Office and its law enforcement partners to ensure that crime doesn’t pay. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.

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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

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