|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||OVC||WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1999||202/307-0703|
CRIMINAL FINE COLLECTION EFFORTS BENEFIT VICTIMS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Janet Reno today recognized three individuals and seven teams of federal personnel from seven states for their efforts to collect criminal fines from federal criminal offenders in 1998. Such fines are collected from offenders by U.S. Attorneys, Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Court personnel and are deposited into the Crime Victims Fund, which pays for services for millions of crime victims across the country.
"The individuals we honor today have worked tirelessly to ensure that crime doesn't pay, and that crime victims are compensated through the Crime Victims Fund," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Congress designed this unique funding mechanism so crime victims would always have a place to turn for help."
Among those recognized today for their contributions were teams from U.S. Attorneys' offices in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Texas and the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Georgia. A paralegal with a New York U.S. Attorney's office, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Wisconsin and a Bureau of Prisons staff member also received awards.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois and a team of six federal investigators were recognized for leading a four-year investigation, which uncovered fraudulent Medicare practices and resulted in $4 million in criminal fines and $140 million in civil damages, the largest settlement against a Medicare carrier in the country.
The Justice Department's Antitrust Division received an award for its efforts in targeting criminal commercial enterprises, which yielded nearly half a billion dollars in federal fines in 1997 and 1998.
A team from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa was also recognized for keeping a defendant from being deported to Canada before his court-ordered $100,000 fine was paid. A team from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York won a $10,000 fine and full restitution for over 30 victims in a case involving a property insurance scam in Jamaica.
"Because the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) doesn't receive appropriated funds, we depend on the efforts of our federal colleagues who secure convictions and collections to ensure the Fund has sufficient levels," said Kathryn Turman, Acting Director for OVC. "We are able to provide services and support for more than two million victims a year through nearly 4,000 victim service agencies. The more money collected and deposited into the Fund, the more money available for crime victims."
Revenue for the Crime Victims Fund is wholly dependent on federal crime fighting efforts. In Fiscal Year 1998, more than $324 million was collected for the Fund. The Crime Victims Fund was established by Congress in 1984. In 1992, Congress lifted a cap that had been placed on the amount of money that could be deposited into the Fund. This year, over $900 million has already been collected for crime victims.
Fines collected in one year by U.S. Attorneys, the U.S. Courts and Bureau of Prisons are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards in the following year. Over 90 percent of the money collected is awarded by OVC to state victim compensation and assistance programs. Remaining funds are used for training and technical assistance and national demonstration projects.
More information about the Crime Victims Fund and OVC is available at OVC's Web site www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc or the Office of Justice Programs Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Or, call the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center on 800/627-6872.
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 202/516-6843