|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||OVC||WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2000||202/307-0703|
VICTIMS BENEFIT FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S RECORD EFFORTS COLLECTING CRIMINAL FINES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Reno today honored three individuals and four teams of federal employees from nine states whose efforts have resulted in record deposits to the Crime Victims Fund, which finances services for millions of crime victims across the nation. The Attorney General presented the Crime Victims Fund Award to U.S. Attorneys, FBI, Bureau of Prison, U.S. Court and Department of Health and Human Services personnel for obtaining criminal fines from federal criminal offenders in 1999.
A Dallas team from the Justice Department's Antitrust Division received an award for prosecuting an international vitamin cartel and exacting two fines, $225 million and $500 million, which is the largest fine the Justice Department has obtained in a criminal case. Other award recipients include a team from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts, which collected the largest fine ever recovered in a health care fraud case and the largest fine in any case in New England's history.
"Much of the reward that comes from the successful prosecution of these large cases is that the criminal fines collected are put to such good use," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "The individuals we honor today can take great pride in knowing that their hard work will directly help millions of crime victims across the country."
The Crime Victims Fund Award recognizes federal employees whose work increased deposits into the Crime Victims Fund and substantially improved federal criminal debt collection.
Others commended for their contributions today include a multi-district litigation team with members from U.S. Attorneys' Offices in Florida and Georgia, FBI Field Offices in Atlanta, Miami and Tampa, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department's Criminal and Civil Divisions. The multi-district litigation team was recognized for demonstrating model collaboration in the investigation and prosecution of a large, complex health care fraud case against Olsten Health Services, Olsten Corporation and Kimberly Health Care. The case resulted in a $10.1 million deposit into the Fund.
Two probation officers with the U.S. District Court in Nevada were also recognized for the largest confiscation of hidden cash from an offender, $303,565. The victims of this convicted felon's telemarketing scam received full restitution and the convict's former wife regained $38,000 in delinquent child support.
Also receiving awards were an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Louisiana, a probation officer with the U.S. District Court in Alaska and a Bureau of Prisons staff member in Oregon.
"Every dollar collected means more support and services for victims," said Kathryn Turman, Director of the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which administers the Fund. "Since OVC doesn't receive appropriated funds, we rely entirely on the efforts of our federal colleagues to support our programs."
Fines collected in one year by U.S. Attorneys, the U.S. Courts, the U.S. Military and Bureau of Prisons are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards the following year. Funds deposited in FY 1999 totaled $985 million of which $500 million was available in FY 2000.
Over 90 percent of available Fund deposits are distributed annually by OVC to state victim compensation and assistance programs. Remaining funds are used for training and technical assistance and national demonstration projects. The Fund also supports child abuse investigation and prosecution efforts, improving the response to federal crime victims, victim-witness staff in U.S. Attorneys' Offices and assistance to victims of domestic and international terrorism.
More information about the Crime Victims Fund and OVC is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/ or the Office of Justice Programs' Web site at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Or, by calling the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center on 800/627-6872.
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534