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January 13, 2022 - The Southern District of Georgia recovered more than $36 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2021, including nearly $24 million in civil actions and more than $4 million in restitution to crime victims.
Additionally, the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Office and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $47,853 from criminal actions and $23,000 from civil actions, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
The Southern District’s recovery total in 2021 was $26 million higher than 2020’s $10.7 million total, including $20 million in the Argos USA settlement coordinated with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
“Asset recovery is a vital part of our office’s role in enforcing the law and protecting citizens and the public treasury,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Identifying and collecting these restitutions, forfeitures and judgments and initiating the actions to recover these funds helps to ensure that crime does not pay.”
Examples of major recoveries in FY 2021 through the U.S. Attorney’s Office Financial Litigation Program include nearly $1 million in restitution in a Savannah bank fraud case; more than $218,000 in restitution to repay funds embezzled from a Statesboro medical practice; and more than $177,000 in restitution of funds from an Appling County pharmacist’s healthcare fraud scheme.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with partner agencies and divisions, recovered more than $8 million in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2021, ranking the Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office second in the nation among Medium-sized districts across the country. The recovered funds included those from money-laundering investigations, proceeds from fraud – including from COVID-19 programs – and proceeds from drug trafficking, illegal gambling and animal fighting. 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.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice 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 Southern District’s Asset Recovery Unit, let by Section Chief and Assistant U.S. Attorney Xavier A. Cunningham, includes Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Sue Robichaux, Financial Litigation Analyst Michael Palmer, Data Analyst Leiandra Moran, Records Examiner Teisha Lovett, Paralegal Wanda Jackson, and Paralegal Specialists Rosylen Givens and Margrita Brady.
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