More than $5.3 million collected in delinquent government loans

From Staff Reports

   The U.S. Attorney's Office collected more than $5.3 million in criminal fines, restitution, loan defaults, bankruptcy, forfeiture, affirmative civil enforcement and other sources during fiscal year 2001, according to U.S. Attorney Harry S. Mattice Jr.
   The money was collected as a result of litigation filed in delinquent government loans such as student loans, Small Business Administration, Farm Service Agency and Housing and Urban Development loans.
   Other areas of collection include false claims, health care fraud, Social Security overpayments, Veterans Administration overpayments, income tax underpayments and penalties, bankruptcies, criminal and civil forfeitures, and criminal fines, assessments and restitution.
   Federally forfeited funds are used in law enforcement efforts in East Tennessee with much of the funds going to state and local law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Attorney's Office collected more than $2.3 million in cases involving civil and criminal forfeitures.
   The collected criminal fines and assessments went to the Crime Victims' Fund and are used for crime victims through various state grants and to help support crime victim compensation and assistance programs to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. The compensation program supplements funds used to pay claims for medical costs, lost wages, mental health counseling, funeral expenses, and other expenses victims incur as a result of violent crimes committed against them.
   The assistance program provides funds to domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and other local agencies to provide services to victims, such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter and criminal justice advocacy.
   "In light of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, we have placed a special emphasis on the collection of the monies that are placed in the Crime Victims Fund due to the expected tremendous increase in the need for assistance. The support that crime victims and their families receive through this program can make a significant difference in the way they respond to being victimized," Mattice said. "It is very gratifying to see that the monies we secure from offenders are put to such good use to help crime victims."
   The $5.3 million was collected through the concerted efforts of the entire staff in all divisions of the U.S. Attorney's Office, which covers 41 counties in Eastern Tennessee.