U.S. Attorney’s Office For The Eastern District Of Tennessee Collects $7,442,571.29 In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2020 | USAO-EDTN

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– United States Attorney J. Douglas Overbey announced that the Eastern District of Tennessee collected $7,442,571.29 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Of this amount, $2,581,550.52 was collected in criminal actions and $4,861,020.77 was collected in civil actions. U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey praised the hard work of the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and the Monetary Recovery Unit stating, “The men and women of the U.S. Attorney’s Office continue to work diligently to ensure East Tennesseans receive justice. The money recovered for victims of crime and taxpayers is the direct result of the hard work and commitment our Assistant U.S. Attorneys dedicate to the wellbeing of this community.”

Highlights of the Eastern District of Tennessee’s FY 2020 collections effort include:

  • A $1,500,000 civil settlement with Retina Associates to resolve False Claims Act Allegations in February 2020.
  • Sylvia Hofstetter was found guilty and sentenced for her role in operating pill mills in East Tennessee. She was also ordered to forfeit $3.6 million in ill-gotten gains.
  • $555,000 in criminal restitution was collected from five defendants involved in a pain cream scheme fraud case. All five defendants were convicted for their roles in defrauding both private and government insurance programs.
  • In November, 2020, as part of her sentence, Cheryl Broussard was required to forfeit $106,000, which represented the proceeds of her defrauding a National Women’s Sorority as part of an investment management scheme. In addition, Broussard was ordered to pay $106,000 in restitution to her victims.
  • $132,343.50 in criminal restitution was collected from a former Controller, Shain Chappel, who was sentenced for an embezzlement scheme in July 2020. 

Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice Department’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 Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, which distributes the funds to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

Nationwide, the United States Justice Department collected more than $15.9 billion in civil and criminal actions in FY 2020, ending September 30, 2020. The $15,988,516,670 in collections in FY 2020 represents more than five times the approximately $3.2 billion appropriated budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period. The total includes all monies collected as a result of Justice Department-led enforcement actions and negotiated civil settlements. It includes more than $13.5 billion in payments made directly to the Justice Department, and more than $2.4 billion in indirect payments made to other federal agencies, states, and other designated recipients.

The largest civil collections in FY 2020 were from affirmative civil enforcement cases in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud, other misconduct, or collected fines imposed upon individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights, or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Education.

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