Manhattan federal prosecutors said Wednesday they collected more than $2.98 billion in forfeiture actions last year, the largest amount in a year by any office since the U.S. asset forfeiture funds were established in the 1980s.
The U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement that of the $4.4 billion collected nationwide in forfeiture actions during 2012, more than two-thirds of it was collected by New York’s Southern District. The Southern District also collected $526.7 million from civil actions and $76.8 million in restitution, fines and special assessments during the year, the statement said.
“Our aim is not only to take the profit out of crime and the profit incentive
away from civil offenders, but also to compensate victims and put money back into government,” said Preet Bharara, Manhattan’s U.S. attorney, in the statement.
U.S. attorneys’ offices nationwide collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in year before, the statement said.
Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, said in an email that large collections in several mortgage fraud and healthcare fraud cases “were a contributing factor” to the increase in 2012.