Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York recovered one of the largest amounts of money in its history for victims of crime, taxpayers and law enforcement agencies, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr.
Hochul’s office recovered $53,696,780 that he said was a result of its “extensive, wide-ranging efforts in criminal, civil and forfeiture cases,” $37,926,578 of which was collected from criminal and civil action suits in fiscal year 2012.
The office also reigned in $15,642,497 in civil actions that included proceedings involving health care fraud, government fraud, foreclosures and more.
“During this time of economic recovery in our country, these collections are more important than ever,” Hochul said, in a statement released on Thursday. “The $53,000,000 collected in criminal and civil recoveries is one of our highest recoveries ever, and sends a very strong message that crime does not pay.”
Hochul also reported that 250 firearms, along with ammunition, and 51 computers were forfeited in this year, as well as 27 vehicles, jewelry, contraband cigarettes, artwork and dozens of other items. Exotic fish, snakes, illegal aphrodisiac vitamin supplements from Madagascar and fake Viagra pills were also seized at the Canadian border.
The $53 million recovered does not include approximately $9,000,000, which the office successfully forfeited as a result of a fraud scheme prosecuted by the office involving the late Ashvin Zaveri of Hoyeoye Falls. These forfeited funds will be returned to the victims of the crime in the upcoming months.
“My office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of crime and we will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities,” Hochul said.