The Virgin Islands collected $11.5 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced Tuesday, $11 million in criminal cases and $224,779 in civil cases.
The district also worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $1.2 million in civil cases pursued jointly with those offices, Sharpe said.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced Thursday that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in the fiscal year, more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion appropriated for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
In measuring collections recovered in Fiscal Year 2015, this figure necessarily includes some cases that were resolved in previous years but the proceeds of which were collected in FY15, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” Lynch said. “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”
In his Tuesday news release, Sharpe said the total demonstrates his office’s determination.
“The recoveries announced today demonstrate that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will utilize all means at its disposal to disgorge criminals and fraudsters of illegal and dishonest profits. My office is committed to upholding our laws and ensuring that residents of the Virgin Islands who are the unfortunate victims of crime and other misconduct are made whole,” he said.
The Virgin Islands’ largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud, including Food Stamp fraud, or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or the territory for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws.
Civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and the Department of Education. The largest criminal collection resulted from a tax fraud case.
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 United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims, Sharpe said. 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 to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.