U.S. Attorney’s Office announces its collections for Fiscal Year 2022

Published 7:01 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

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NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced the Eastern District of Louisiana collected slightly over $1 billion in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2022.  Of this amount, $7.78 million was collected in criminal actions and $992.4 million was collected in civil actions.

U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. 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  assistance programs.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, working with partner agencies and components, collected over $10 million in asset forfeiture actions and seized 341 firearms in FY 2022.  Forfeited funds are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.  Seizing firearms not only deprives criminals of the weapons they use to commit their crimes,  it also helps  dismantle criminal organizations.  The weapons are destroyed after the case in which they were seized is either closed, the weapons  are judicially forfeited, or  they are no longer needed as evidence.

Highlights of the Eastern District of Louisiana’s 2022 collection and forfeiture efforts include:

  • The collection of over $850 million in civil penalties, damages, and costs from BP Exploration & Production Inc.  imposed as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
  •  Following a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud, Ritchel Morehead’s payment of  $310,205.91 to satisfy  the outstanding balance  of the restitution obligation she owed to the victims of her fraudulent investment scheme.
  •  The forfeiture  of $1,473,393.50 in ill-gotten gains stemming from the  prosecution of Erik Martin and Darrel Fitzpatrick for  what the sentencing judge called a “massive bribery and fraud scheme” involving kickbacks and payoffs  targeting the United States Marine Corps.   .

  The seizure of  thirty-six (36) firearms from Michael Malone, a convicted felon and prohibited possessor of firearms pursuant to an investigation conducted by  the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

“These statistics  demonstrate our commitment and dedication to victims of crimes and to the citizens of the Eastern District of Louisiana through the successful forfeiture and collection of funds in civil and criminal cases,” said U.S. Attorney Evans. “Our office’s Monetary Penalties and Recovery Unit helps to protect the public by holding accountable those who have profited from the crimes they committed both in our District, and beyond. Equally important, the seizure of dangerous firearms from prohibited individuals helps reduce violent crime in our community.”

U.S. Attorney Evans thanks Asset Forfeiture Assistant United States Attorney Alexandra Giavotella, Financial Litigation Assistant United States Attorney Churita Hansell, as well as the Office’s outstanding support professionals Jerrilyn A. Dufauchard, David Vigier, Ilan Adona, Danielle Smith-Graham, Christina Garcia, and Monica Washington for their hard work and dedication to the pursuit of justice.