ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WRIC) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) collected approximately $242 million in criminal, civil, and asset forfeiture actions in Fiscal Year 2020 on behalf of private and government victims, according to a Monday release.
Of these recovered funds, EDVA officials report that $22.3 million involved restitution for victim’s within the office’s criminal cases. Through civil actions and settlements where the federal government was considered the victim, such as defense procurement fraud, healthcare fraud, whistleblower cases, and the collection of agency debts, EDVA collected $41.1 million. According to a release, the remaining $167.9 million was collected in joint matters with EDVA and the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Civil Division or various Department litigating components.
“It is an honor to serve with my colleagues in the Eastern District of Virginia, all of whom have supported each other with tremendous resolve as we face the many challenges of the ongoing pandemic together,” Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh said. “Our criminal and civil recovery teams worked tirelessly during a very difficult year to make crime victims whole, use asset forfeiture to reclaim the illicit proceeds of crimes, and protect the public fisc. We will continue our firm commitment to preserving the principles of equality, equity, and justice for all as we uphold victims’ rights and protect our communities throughout 2021 and beyond.”
Parekh took over as Acting U.S. Attorney of the EDVA in January, after then-U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger announced he would be stepping down. Terwilliger was officially confirmed as U.S. Attorney for EDVA by the Senate in 2018.
Over the course of FY2020, EDVA also collected a total of approximately $10.6 million through asset forfeiture, according to a release. Of that amount, EDVA officials say they deposited over $8.3 million into DOJ’s Assets Forfeiture Fund, while the other approximately $2.3 million was restored or remitted to victims.
Asset forfeiture is a tool used by law enforcement agencies to take away illegally acquired assets or personal belongings that were collected in connection with illicit activity.
According to a release, EDVA used asset forfeiture statutes and processes to restrain an additional $13.6 million, which was returned directly to victims in lieu of forfeiture.
The U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country, along with the DOJ’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the federal government 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.
The DOJ, as a whole, collected more than $15.9 billion in civil and criminal actions in 2020, according to a release.