SHERMAN — U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown has announced that the Eastern District of Texas collected nearly $43 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2019.
The U.S. Attorney’s 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.
Brown said on Friday that the Eastern District collected $42.72 million in total this year, including $41.5 million in criminal actions and $1.2 million in civil actions.
Additionally, he said the Eastern District of Texas worked with other U.S. attorney’s offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect nearly $3.81 million in cases the offices pursued jointly. That amount includes more than $19,800 in criminal actions and $3.8 million in civil actions.
“One of the most important missions of the U.S. attorney’s offices is enforcing and collecting monetary judgments for violations of federal law,” Brown said. “Aggressive enforcement of these judgments achieves the multiple purposes of compensating crime victims, punishing those who break the law and deterring future violations.”
Brown cited one case of collection.
In August, the Eastern District of Texas recovered nearly $3.2 million to fully satisfy a restitution judgment entered in United States v. Manpreet Singh in August 2018.
Singh was prosecuted for defrauding several banks in the Eastern District. The district’s asset recovery team was involved in the prosecution and required that Singh make a significant down payment to the restitution before sentencing, Brown said.
Next, the asset recovery team sought payment terms that would require Singh to sell a hotel and other real property as part of his sentence. The court adopted the requested payment terms and incorporated them into the judgment, Brown said.
He said prosecutors successfully forced Singh to promptly sell the hotel, which led to the judgment being paid in full in less than a year.
Brown also said the Eastern District, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected more than $15 million in asset forfeitures in fiscal year 2019.
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 needs, he said.