Oct. 4, 2001 — The U.S. Attorneys Office in the Virgin Islands collected about $1.3 million over the last year in civil and criminal debts owed to the federal government and third parties.
About $450,000 of the money came from two sources: the V.I. government and Ann Abramson, former Public Works commissioner and prominent St. Croix businesswoman. All of the funds were collected in fiscal year 2001, which ended Sept. 30.
The local government paid a $400,000 penalty for violating a federal wastewater consent decree that occurred in 1997, according to U.S. Attorney David Atkinson. Another $50,000 was collected from Abramson, 77, who along with the fine was sentenced to a 2-1/2-year prison term in August 2000 for making false claims and statements in connection with Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.
"The fines and penalties paid by those who have committed criminal offenses go right back into the community to assist crime victims through the Crime Victims Fund, which was established … in 1984," Atkinson said.
The U.S. Attorneys Office also collected $205,650 in restitution owed to the federal government, including $60,400 from CNA Enterprises and $97,000 from Glenn Wilcox owed to FEMA. Another $237,000 in restitution owed to third parties was collected, which included $84,000 from the sale of a debtors home and $98,500 from Claire and Derrick Romney.
The U.S. attorney also collected about $250,000 in seized assets. The asset-forfeiture program, which seizes the profits of people involved in drugs, fraud or money laundering, was instituted by the federal government in the 1980s.
Seized money under this program can be used for law enforcement purposes and for community groups dedicated to crime prevention, such as the Grove Place Weed and Seed program on St. Croix and its counterpart at Bovoni on St. Thomas.
Atkinson said his office will continue to go after all debts under its jurisdiction, particularly debtors who owe large amounts of money to the federal government. And federal officials will continue to use the enforcement tools available through the federal Debt Collection Procedure Act, including writs of execution, which allow the United States to take cash and other assets from a debtor and apply the proceeds toward the debts owed, he said.