U.S. Attorney’s Office in Memphis Collects $65,969,200.04 For U.S. Taxpayers and Victims in 2020
Memphis, TN (STL.News) United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee collected a total of $65,969,200.04 in criminal and civil actions during Calendar Year 2020. Of that amount, $1,314,912.06 was collected through civil actions and $64,654,287.98 stemmed from fines and restitution ordered as part of criminal convictions.
One case that generated significant collection efforts was United States of America v. SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. (SK), which generated $60,578,847.08 in criminal fines, the largest fine ever imposed against a criminal defendant in the Western District of Tennessee. On June 10, 2020, SK Engineering, one of the largest engineering firms in the Republic of Korea, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent scheme to obtain U.S. Army contracts through payments to a U.S. Department of Defense contracting official and the submission of false claims to the U.S. government. SK was also ordered to pay $2,601,883.86 in restitution to the U.S. Army, and serve three years of probation, during which time SK agreed not to pursue U.S. federal government contracts.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, “Protection of the United States Treasury and taxpayer resources is a core value and critical mission for this office and the Department of Justice. Equally as important is the priority of collecting restitution for victims of crime in order to punish offenders and provide justice for the harm and loss suffered by victims. I commend the outstanding work of our Criminal Division, Civil Division, and Financial Litigation Unit in aggressively pursuing and effectively collecting this significant total amount on behalf of victims of crime and the United States in 2020.”
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the U.S. Department of Justice’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States 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. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Calendar year 2020 collections include recovery of government money lost to criminal fraud and other misconduct, and recovery of money lost by victims as a result of individual and corporate misconduct. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Education, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Total civil collections were reduced in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted the suspension of many civil collections, such as student loans, SBA loans and all Social Security Treasury Offset Program (TOP) payments.