Western Pennsylvania’s U.S. Attorney Office Collects Over $50 Million in Criminal, Civil Actions

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PITTSBURGH, PA — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania collected a substantial $36.8 million in criminal and civil actions in the fiscal year 2023, according to a recent announcement by U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan.

This sum includes $23.7 million from criminal actions and $13.1 million from civil actions. But that’s not all. The office, working in conjunction with partner law enforcement agencies, also amassed an additional $19.1 million through asset forfeiture actions. This brings the total recovered and forfeited to over $50 million.

Asset forfeiture is a legal process enabling authorities to seize assets linked to criminal activity. It targets both proceeds from criminal conduct and property facilitating such activities. The seized assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund and used for various law enforcement purposes. Importantly, they can also be restored to victims of crime when appropriate.

“Last year, this office recovered and forfeited over $50 million, demonstrating our commitment to holding criminal defendants financially accountable, assisting victims of crime, and protecting the federal treasury,” Olshan stated. He praised the relentless efforts of the office’s financial litigation and asset forfeiture teams, who leverage all available resources to recover funds.

The role of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice Department’s litigating divisions, is vital in enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and debts owed to federal crime victims. A key aspect of this is restitution. Federal law mandates defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered physical injury or financial loss.

Restitution payments go directly to the victims, while criminal fines and felony assessments are paid into the department’s Crime Victims Fund. This fund then distributes the collected money to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

The importance of these collections extends beyond mere numbers. They represent a tangible measure of justice, forcing criminal defendants to make amends, at least financially, for their actions. They also serve as a crucial lifeline for victims, providing them with financial relief and support in their journey towards recovery.

By holding criminal defendants financially accountable, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania is sending a clear message: crime does not pay. It is a testament to the tireless work of those involved in the financial litigation and asset forfeiture teams. Their efforts are not just about recovering funds but about delivering justice and supporting victims of crime.

Moving forward, the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s work spotlights the importance of robust enforcement and collection mechanisms in our justice system. It serves as a reminder that the fight against crime is multifaceted, involving not just prosecution and punishment, but also recovery and restitution. After all, justice is not just about retribution; it’s about restoration, too.

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