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U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District recovers record amount in fiscal 2013

BUFFALO – The Western District of New York Office secured the highest amount of money for a given year in the Office’s history. Specifically, in Fiscal Year 2013, the Office recovered $94,220,047 as a result of wide-ranging efforts in criminal, civil and forfeiture cases. This money was used to repay victims of crime, provided as aid to law enforcement agencies, and in largest part, provided to taxpayers as a result of being transmitted to the United States Treasury.  

In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr. praised the hard work and dedication of Office attorneys and support staff that sought not only to put convicted defendants in jail, but took the profit out of crime in a more literal sense. “This Office strives mightily to protect the public from those who would cause it harm. From violent gang members to child predators, cyber criminals, and major fraudsters, we seek to ensure that the worst of the worst are identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But our Office also protects taxpayers. By using civil law and forfeiture, we recover money that helps repay victims of crime, aids local law enforcement, and fills the American Treasury. In other words, we don’t just take the profit out of crime, we use it for the public good.”  

Hochul stated that in order to put the $94 million recovered by his Office into proper perspective for the public, the recovered money represents more than nine times the amount of money it took to operate the entire United States Attorney’s Office for the year.

“Because our budget is approximately $10 million,” said Hochul, “the recovered money in reality means taxpayers spent nothing for the protection and safety provided by this Office, and still also obtained an additional $84 million in money it did not anticipate receiving through other means.”  

As for how the record recoveries came about, the Office collected $75,146,101 in criminal and civil actions. Criminal actions, which include fines and restitution,   totaled $20,142,677.26, $20,004,017 of which was returned to victims of crime. The Office also collected $55,003,424 in civil actions, which include proceedings involving health care fraud, government fraud, foreclosures and more.
In addition, the Office collected $19,073,946 in criminal and civil forfeitures.  Forfeitures generally involve proceeds of crime, as well as property used to commit crime. Of that amount, $3,481,607 was shared with state and local law enforcement partners who work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice.

Hochul also stated that in the four years of the current administration, the amount of money recovered by the Office exceeded $208,900,000. This is a result of the Office recovering in Fiscal Year 2010, $31,800,000, in 2011, $29,300,000, and in 2012, $53,600,000.

Beyond recovering money, Hochul also reported that 109 dangerous firearms, along with ammunition, and 56 computers were forfeited in FY 2013.

In addition to the $94,220,047 collected locally, Hochul also noted that the WDNY worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional amount of over $534,500,000.00 in cases pursued jointly.