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Treasury Offset Program

2008 Crime Victims Fund Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Treasury Offset Program | Crime Victims Fund Award
Team Members: Kenneth Melson; Laurie Levin; Darrell Curtis
Washington, DC

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is a centralized debt collection program that helps agencies collect delinquent debts owed to the Federal Government. To do this, TOP matches delinquent debtor files against outstanding debts. When a match occurs, TOP intercepts funds from sources such as federal tax return refunds, annual annuities, and social security payments to offset any outstanding debt owed to the Federal Government. 

Until 2003, TOP was not available for the offset of criminal debts; however, with a small investment of $50,000 from OVC, U.S. Attorneys' Offices throughout the Nation now have the insurance policy they need to access TOP to collect criminal debt. Within each U.S. Attorney's Office, the Financial Litigation Unit now has access to TOP for the purposes of enforcing and collecting criminal debts owed to the United States Government and nongovernment victims of federal crime. 

Since 2003, the interception of funds through TOP to pay outstanding criminal debts has resulted in an enormous amount of restitution paid to crime victims. Since TOP has been available to the Financial Litigation Units, collections have totaled more than $7.9 million. In 2007 alone, TOP recovered $5.2 million for fines to be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund and to pay restitution owed to crime victims. TOP has proved to be a valuable enforcement tool for criminal monetary judgments. 

The Treasury Offset Program was nominated by OVC.