HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that the Middle District of Pennsylvania collected $20.2 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2018. Of this amount, $4 million was collected in criminal actions and $16 million was collected in civil actions. The $20.2 million collected in FY 2018 represents approximately double the appropriated budget for the office.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $1.1 million in cases pursued jointly by these offices. Of this amount, $14,637 was collected in criminal actions and $1.1 million was collected in civil actions.
In November 2018, the Middle District of Pennsylvania received $70 million as part of the settlement in U.S. v. MoneyGram International, Inc. as a result of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement including a forfeiture settlement. MoneyGram will be charged by information for knowingly and intentionally aiding and abetting wire fraud and willfully failing to implement an effective anti-money laundering program. Forfeiture of the $70 million will be processed administratively by the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the district will be credited for an out of court forfeiture settlement. MoneyGram was involved in consumer fraud schemes perpetrated by corrupt MoneyGram agents and others. In the fraud scams, which generally targeted the elderly and other vulnerable groups, perpetrators contacted victims in the United States and falsely posed as victim’s relatives in urgent need of money, falsely promised large cash prizes, or promised items for sale over the internet at deeply discounted prices. The perpetrators required the victims to send funds through MoneyGram’s money transfer system.
As a whole, the Justice Department collected nearly $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. The $14,839,821,650 in collections in FY 2018 represents is nearly seven times the appropriated $2.13 billion ($2,136,750,000) budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices.
“The men and women of the U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country work diligently, day in and day out, to see that the citizens of our nation receive justice. The money that we are able to recover for victims and this country as a whole is a direct result of their hard work,” Director James A. Crowell, IV, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.
“The men and women of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania are dedicated to the protection of our fellow law-abiding citizens, whether we are battling the scourge of drugs and violent crime or attacking scams designed to defraud government agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Freed. “I am pleased that our collection efforts both in the District and nationwide have far exceeded our cost to the taxpayers”
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 collected to federal and 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, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.