Feds obtain over $2M from civil and criminal cases in 2022

Jan. 10—Federal prosecutors collected more than $2 million from civil and criminal actions during the 2022 fiscal year, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors.

In total, assistant U.S. attorneys stacked $2,088,622.73 from criminal and civil actions. Of that total, $1,534,259.15 was collected from criminal actions and $554,363.58 was collected from civil actions.

Additionally, the Hawaii U.S. Attorney's Office worked with other U.S. Attorney's Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $7,991,796.46 in civil cases pursued jointly by these offices.

"Recouping money owed to the United States, as well as obtaining financial recoveries from those who violate the law, are critical aspects of our system of justice," said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors, in a statement. "We will vigorously pursue economic sanctions and collections on behalf of our community."

In August, former state Sen. Majority Leader J. Kalani English paid $75,000 of the $100,000 fine imposed for honest services wire fraud, according to the news release.

English was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison in July for accepting $18,305 in cash from H20 Process Systems President Milton J. Choy to support and kill bills and provide intelligence to Choy's businesses between 2014 and 2021.

The same case resulted in the arrest and prosecution of former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen, 41, then vice chairman of the House Committee on Finance. Cullen is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 19

A consent decree in an environmental action the United States brought for reimbursement of costs and compensation for natural resource damages associated with the release or threatened release of hazardous substances at the former Oahu Sugar pesticide-mixing area within the Pearl Harbor Superfund Site resulted in more than $7.5 million of the amount recovered from cases jointly worked.

The U.S. Attorneys' offices, along with the department's litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the federal government and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims, according to the release.

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 victim assistance programs.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's office in Hawaii, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $1,063,208 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2021. 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, according to the news release.