New Jersey collects over $100M in criminal and civil actions

The District of New Jersey collected more than $100 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015.

Of the $102,476,557 amount, $64,631,183 was collected in criminal actions and $37,845,373 was collected in civil actions, according to a statement prepared by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

The District of New Jersey worked with other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $9.27 billion in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $297,806 was collected in criminal actions and $9,265,900,389 was collected in civil actions, Fishman said.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on Dec. 3 that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, which represents more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the main litigating divisions of the same period.

“Our office is responsible for keeping the public safe from all kinds of abuse, from violent crime to financial exploitation,” Fishman said. “As part of that mission, the public servants in our office continue to collect far more in fines, penalties, asset forfeiture, restitution and settlements than our operating expenses. Using that money to make crime victims whole, invest in our law enforcement partners and help fund the general treasury is good economics and good public safety.”

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 the 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, according to Fishman.

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, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

Additional, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $18,808,153 in asset forfeiture actions for the fiscal year. 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.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey obtained final orders of forfeiture for property that is being held pending sale.