A recent Detroit Free Press article reported that despite the economic woes of 2010, the feds were busying racking up a record $6.64 billion in criminal and civil collections this year, compared to $4.6 billion in 2009. According to the government, the increase was due to various large criminal restitution cases as well as large health care fraud cases.
This year, more than $46 million was collected by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Michigan. "Recovering money from illegal activities and returning the funds to victims of crime and to the taxpayers is especially important during this time of economic recovery," United States Attorney Barbara McQuade said. "This year, our office will recover almost twice as much we spend."
The 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices nationwide are responsible for enforcing and collecting debts owed to the government, and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims who have suffered injury or financial loss from certain crimes. The restitution is paid directly to the victim, but the criminal fines and assessments are paid to the Department of Justice's Crime Victims' Fund who distributes the funds to victim compensation and assistance programs.
The feds in Detroit collected an additional $5 billion in asset forfeiture actions and civil enforcement cases involving individual and corporate violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. Further civil debts were collected on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, and Small Business Administration.
As 2010 draws to a close and the end of the year numbers roll in, the feds sure can't complain. Remember, the feds will come after you looking to take away your freedom and economic security. Be careful out there.