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Northern Georgia court district collected $108 million in FY2016
Office focuses on those who 'cheat the public'
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The federal court for the northern district of Georgia tallied $108 million in fiscal year 2016 from criminal and civil actions.

“Financial enforcement of monetary penalties is a critical element of our office’s mission,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a news release. “We must ensure that crime does not pay. With the help of our partner agencies, we continue to focus on (criminal) efforts to cheat the public and the government and to hold the perpetrators financially accountable.”

Fiscal year 2016 began on Oct. 1, 2015, and ended on Sept. 30.

According to the news release, the court directly collected more than $13 million, with the majority coming in criminal actions. When working with other offices and the Department of Justice, the cases yielded more than $95 million. Almost all of the jointly pursued funds came in civil actions.

“The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss,” according to the court’s news release. “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 to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.”

One local case before the end of the fiscal year involved Blake Richards, of Buford, who was accused of defrauding investors of more than $3.2 million.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Richards was accused of depositing the money into his own bank accounts for his personal expenses and then giving fraudulent account statements to clients. Richards pleaded guilty to wire fraud on June 15.

On Aug. 31, Richards was sentenced to five years in prison. He also had a special assessment of $100 and was ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution.

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