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Do all federal restitution orders extend beyond the period of supervision?

San Francisco, CA |

I received a felony sentence which included resitution. The restitution as written: ____"Defendant shall be liable jointly and severly with John Doe for the restitution in the amount of $1,195,000. Said payments shal be made during the term of supervised release, payable to the contracting creditors identified by the parties and the U.S. Attorney's office Financial Litigation Unit persuant to a schedule. The court shall retain juristiction over the matter of restitution; any adjustments to the schedule shall be submitted to the court by the U.S. Attorney's office prior to the beginning of the term of supervised release."____

Is there law somewhere that addresses this ambiguity or is this somehow left up to interpretation?

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Attorney answers 2


The Mandatory Restitution to Victims Act (18 USC Section 3663A, et seq.) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 control the matter, primarily. The District Court, in the Judgment in a Criminal Case, has ordered that you pay restitution during the course of your supervised release. That restitution will be paid pursuant to a schedule, which will be determined based on your current income and net worth, usually by a US Probation Officer with the District Court's final approval. Any modifications that you want to make to that schedule during the term of superivised release must be requested from, and granted by, the District Court. However, upon the expiration of the term of supervised release, the District Court no longer has jurisdiction to enforce the restitution order as a part of the criminal case, because the criminal case then will have been terminated. Nonetheless, the restitution order then may be enforced as a civil judgment, and is collectable by the United States for a period of twenty (20) years from the LATER of (1) the date of the Judgment in a Criminal Case; or (2) the responsible party's release from prison. Also, each US Attorney's Office has a Financial Litigation Unit (FLU), that may or may not aggressively collect the restitution at any time (before, during or after the term of supervised release): If the FLU believes that you have significant assets, and can either pay the full amount of the restitution, or a substantial amount thereof, it will aggressively pursue collection in the same manner as any other civil judgment (depositions to find assets, garnishments, etc.), regardless of the repayment schedule established in the Judgment in a Criminal Case. If the FLU has no reason to believe that you have significant assets, it will usually confirm that the restitution is being repayed at the rate set by the sentencing judge (or the US Probation Officer afterwards), without further action.
-Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.


While Mr. Lowther's explanation is very detailed, I disagree that the US Attorney Financial Litigation Unit can collect restitution during the supervision period at a rate greater than that set by the Court. If the FLU determines that the restitution debtor has additional assets, it may advise the probation department which may apply to the Court to accelerate the rate of repayment.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.