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Criminal Tax Manual

8. Restitution

44.01 BACKGROUND Under the 1925 Federal Probation Act, courts rarely ordered restitution in criminal cases. See S. Rep. No. 97-532, at 30 (1982), reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2515, 2536 (“As simple as the principle of restitution is, it lost its priority status in the sentencing procedures of our federal courts long ago”); Peggy M. Tobolowsky, Restitution in the Federal Criminal Justice System, 77 Judicature 90, 90-91 (1993). More recently, however, a number of statutes have authorized district courts to order restitution for losses directly related to an offense of conviction (or in another amount specified by a plea agreement). See Hughey v. United States, 495 U.S. 411, 415-416 (1991) (listing examples). In 1982, Congress, in an attempt to encourage courts to make broader use of restitution, enacted the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 (VWPA), Pub. L. No. 97-291, 96 Stat. 1248 (codified as amended in scattered sections of 18 U.S.C., with restitution provisions at 18 U.S.C. § 3663). The VWPA provides for restitution in, among other cases, Title 18 criminal cases and any criminal case (including Title 26 cases) in which a defendant agrees to pay restitution as a part of a plea agreement. Fourteen years later, Congress enacted the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act of 1996 (MVRA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, § 204(a), 110 Stat. 1227 (1996) (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 3663A), which generally requires full restitution for all Title 18 criminal cases, including cases involving non-Title 26 tax-related charges under 18 U.S.C. §§ 286, 287, 371, and 1001. In 1987, the United States Sentencing Guidelines came into effect. Section 5E1.1 of the Guidelines provides for restitution in all criminal cases, either as a part of the sentence or as a condition of probation or supervised release, depending on the type of offense. Although the Guidelines are now only advisory, see United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 246, 259-60 (2005); United States v. Frith, 461 F.3d 914, 919 n.2 (7th Cir. 2006), the change from mandatory to advisory sentencing guidelines generally did not affect the rules relating to restitution. See, e.g., United States v. Bonner, 522 F.3d 804, - 2 - 11331015.1 806-08 (7th Cir. 2008); United States v. Farrington, 499 F.3d 854, 861 (5th Cir. 2007); United States v. Gordon, 393 F.3d 1044, 1051 n.2 (9th Cir. 2004).1 As a result of the changes in the laws since 1982, district courts now routinely order restitution in criminal cases. Restitution is no longer the exception, it has become the rule. Prosecutors should be aware that in virtually every criminal tax case in which it is appropriate, there is a way to obtain restitution.2 In order to assist prosecutors, a joint IRS/DOJ task force has created standard language for the restitution portion of plea agreements and judgment and commitment orders. The language can be found in the Criminal Resource Manual of the United States Attorneys’ Manual. USAM, Title 6, Tax Resource Manual, 18-21. 3 In May 2005, the Attorney General issued new Guidelines on Victim and Witness Assistance. Those Guidelines provide “In all plea discussions, prosecutors must consider ‘requesting that the defendant provide full restitution to all victims of all charges contained in the indictment or information, without regard to the counts to which the 1 There is a split in the circuits concerning whether restitution inflicts a criminal punishment and is therefore punitive. Compare United States v. Perez, 514 F.3d 296, 298 (3d Cir. 2007) (restitution is criminal penalty), and United States v. Cohen, 459 F.3d 490, 496 (4th Cir. 2006) (although restitution allows victims to recover losses that might be available in civil litigation, restitution is part of criminal defendant’s sentence), with United States v. Serawop, 505 F.3d 1112, 1122-23 & n.4 (10th Cir. 2007) (MVRA does not inflict criminal punishment and is not punitive; collecting cases discussing circuit split). 2 Of course, there are exceptions. There are a number of factors the district court will have to consider in determining whether to impose discretionary restitution. An important factor is the defendant’s ability to pay. See 26 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(1)(B)(i)(II). 3 The IRS now has a centralized location designated to receive and process all restitution payments. That address is IRS RACS Attn: Mail Stop 6261, Restitution 333 W. Pershing Ave. Kansas City, MO 64108 This address, which was last updated September 29, 2009, is subject to change. Prosecutors should check with the special agents assigned to their cases to ensure that they are using the most recent address. Under the restitution statutes, unless directed otherwise, a defendant is to submit restitution payments to the office of the Clerk of the Court of the district in which the defendant is sentenced. The Clerk of the Court has the responsibility to monitor a defendant’s compliance with the district court’s order. The Clerk of the Court, after receiving and processing restitution payments made by a defendant, forwards the money on to the victim(s) listed in the restitution order. Most Clerks of Court look only to the judgment and commitment order to determine the address of the victim(s). Thus, it is very important that the correct address for the restitution processing office of the IRS be included on the judgment and commitment order and in the plea agreement. - 3 - 11331015.1 defendant actually plead[s].’ (Pub. L. No. 104-132 § 209; 18 U.S.C. § 3551 note).” Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, Art. V(D) (May 2005); see also Principles of Federal Prosecution, USAM §§ 9-27.230, .420-.430. 44.02 AUTHORITY TO ORDER RESTITUTION 44.02[1] The Victim and Witness Protection Act (Title 18 Offenses (including criminal tax cases) and Plea Agreements) The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 (VWPA), Pub. L. No. 97-291, 96 Stat. 1248, empowers courts, in certain instances, to impose restitution as a separate and independent part of a sentence rather than as a special condition of probation or supervised release. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663, 3664; United States v. Minneman, 143 F.3d 274, 284 (7th Cir. 1998); United States v. Martin, 128 F.3d 1188, 1190 (7th Cir. 1997); United States v. Helmsley, 941 F.2d 71, 101 (2d Cir. 1991). “The purpose of restitution under the VWPA is ‘to ensure that wrongdoers, to the degree possible, make their victims whole.’” United States v. Patty, 992 F.2d 1045, 1050 (10th Cir. 1993) (quoting United States v. Rochester, 898 F.2d 971, 983 (5th Cir. 1990)); see United States v. LouperMorris, 672 F.3d 539, 566 (8th Cir. 2012); Hughey v. United States, 495 U.S. 411, 416 (1990); United States v. Innarelli, 524 F.3d 286, 293-94 (1st Cir. 2008); United States v. Serawop, 505 F.3d 1112, 1123-24 (10th Cir. 2007); United States v. Brock-Davis, 504 F.3d 991, 998 (9th Cir. 2007); United States v. Milstein, 481 F.3d 132, 136 (2d Cir. 2007); United States v. Gordon, 393 F.3d 1044, 1052-53 (9th Cir. 2004); United States v. Simmonds, 235 F.3d 826, 831, 833 (3d Cir. 2000) (purpose of restitution is to make victims whole, to restore victims to their original state of well-being). In enacting the VWPA, Congress “strove to encourage greater use of a restitutionary remedy.” United States v. Vaknin, 112 F.3d 579, 582-83, 587 (1st Cir. 1997) (discussing history of restitution back to the Code of Hammurabi and the Old Testament); see Minneman, 143 F.3d at 284-85; Martin, 128 F.3d at 1190 (VWPA designed to ensure that courts do not relegate victim restitution to "an occasional afterthought") (citations omitted). The VWPA authorizes a district court to order that a defendant convicted of, among other offenses, offenses under Title 18 -- including 18 U.S.C. §§ 286, 287, 371, and 1001 -- make restitution to victims of the offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3663; see Helmsley, 941 F.2d at 101. - 4 - 11331015.1 The United States and its agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), may qualify as victims under the VWPA (and the MVRA). See, e.g, United States v. Schmidt, 675 F.3d 1164, 1167 (8th Cir. 2012); United States v. Leahy, 464 F.3d 773, 793 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Senty-Haugen, 449 F.3d 862, 865 (8th Cir. 2006) (MVRA definition of victim same as VWPA, IRS is eligible victim under MVRA); United States v. Ekanem, 383 F.3d 40, 42-44 (2d Cir. 2004); United States v. Butler, 297 F.3d 505, 518 (6th Cir. 2002) (approving order to pay restitution to the IRS); United States v. Lincoln, 277 F.3d 1112, 1114 (9th Cir. 2002); United States v. Tucker, 217 F.3d 960, 962 (8th Cir. 2000); Minneman, 143 F.3d at 284; Vaknin, 112 F.3d at 591; Martin, 128 F.3d at 1190-92; see also United States v. Kirkland, 853 F.2d 1243, 1246 (5th Cir. 1988) (upholding restitution order to the Farmers Home Administration); United States v. Sunrhodes, 831 F.2d 1537, 1545-46 (10th Cir. 1987) (quoting United States v. Ruffen, 780 F.2d 1493, 1496 (9th Cir. 1986)) (upholding restitution order to Indian Health Service); but see United States v. Ubakanma, 215 F.3d 421, 427-28 & n.6 (4th Cir. 2000) (reversing restitution ordered payable to the United States government where real victim was located in the United Arab Emirates; discussing necessity to identify victim). Under the VWPA, prior to ordering restitution, the district court must consider a number of factors.4 Those factors include the amount of loss, the defendant's financial resources, the financial needs and earning ability of the defendant and his or her dependents, and any such other factors the court deems appropriate. 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(1)(B)(i); see United States v. Caldwell, 302 F.3d 399, 420 (5th Cir. 2002); Weinberger v. United States, 268 F.3d 346, 356 (6th Cir. 2001) (vacating restitution order because district court did not consider all factors necessary under VWPA); United States v. Ben Zvi, 242 F.3d 89, 100 (2d Cir. 2001) (defendant's limited financial resources at time of imposition of sentence not dispositive, particularly where defendant has reasonable potential for future earnings; in absence of showing by defendant of restricted future earnings potential, district court may reasonably presume future earnings); United States v. Lawrence, 189 F.3d 838, 848 (9th Cir. 1999) (while district court is not required to make express finding concerning ability to pay, the court must consider the information and “cannot completely defer to the monitoring capabilities of the probation officer”); United States v. Wells, 177 F.3d 603, 611 (7th Cir. 1999) (court 4 There is no constitutional requirement that a jury find beyond a reasonable doubt the facts needed by the district court in order to impose restitution. United States v. Dupes, 513 F.3d 338, 345-46 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting United States v. Reifler, 446 F.3d 65, 116 (2d Cir. 2006)). - 5 - 11331015.1 can consider likelihood that defendant will acquire resources in future and defendant's entrepreneurial talents). If the district court does not provide detailed findings, the court runs the risk that the court of appeals may remand the restitution order as based on “inadequate explanation and insufficient reasoning.” United States v. Menza, 137 F.3d 533, 538 (7th Cir. 1998); see United States v. Butler, 297 F.3d 505, 519 (6th Cir. 2002) (district court did not explain restitution order; court must consider factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3664 and explain why they are or are not relevant). The VWPA also provides that district courts may order restitution “in any criminal case to the extent agreed to by the parties in a plea agreement.” 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a) (3). Thus, as part of a plea agreement in any criminal case (including pure Title 26 criminal tax cases), a defendant may agree to pay restitution. 18 U.S.C. 3663(a)(3); see United States v. Anderson, 545 F.3d 1072, 1077-78 (D.C. Cir. 2008); United States v. Firth, 461 F.3d 914, 920 (7th Cir. 2006). In order for the district court to order restitution agreed to in a plea agreement, however, the plea agreement must clearly contemplate such an order. See United States v. Gottesman, 122 F.3d 150, 151-52 (2d Cir. 1997). As the Second Circuit put it in Gottesman, “[n]ot to put too fine a point on it (as Snagsby was wont to say in Bleak House), it would seem self-evident that for a court to order restitution under § 3663(a)(3), the plea agreement might be expected to mention the word ‘restitution.’” 122 F.3d at 151-52. 44.02[2] The Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (Title 18 Offenses (including certain criminal tax cases)) The Mandatory Victim Restitution Act of 1996 ("MVRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-132, § 204(a), 110 Stat. 1227 (1996) (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 3663A), discards the discretionary balancing system of the VWPA and makes restitution for certain crimes, including certain tax crimes under Title 18, mandatory. See United States v. Turner, 718 F.3d 226, 235-36 (3d Cir. 2013); United States v. Lessner, 498 F.3d 185, 201 (3d Cir. 2007); United States v. Newman, 144 F.3d 531, 537-38 (7th Cir. 1998); United States v. Williams, 128 F.3d 1239, 1241 (8th Cir. 1997). As 18 U.S.C. 3663A(a)(1) states, “the court shall order, in addition to . . . any other penalty authorized by law, that the defendant make restitution to the victim of the offense . . . .” (emphasis added). See United States v. Serawop, 505 F.3d 1112, 1118 (10th Cir. 2007); United States v. - 6 - 11331015.1 Gordon, 393 F.3d 1044, 1048 (9th Cir. 2004). Under the MVRA, the court may not consider the defendant’s economic circumstances or ability to pay when ordering mandatory restitution. See Serawop, 505 F.3d at 1118; United States v. Corley, 500 F.3d 210, 224-25 (3d Cir. 2007), reversed on other grounds at 553 U.S. 303 (2009). The offenses to which the MVRA applies include (1) crimes of violence, as defined in Section 16; (2) offenses against property, including any offense committed by fraud or deceit; and (3) offenses as described in Section 1365. The offense must also be one in which an identifiable victim, or victims as the case may be, has suffered a physical injury or pecuniary loss. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(c)(1)(B). The MVRA and the VWPA are identical in all important respects, and, when interpreting the MVRA, one may look to and rely on cases interpreting the VWPA as precedent. See Serawop, 505 F.3d at 1118; United States v. Brock-Davis, 504 F.3d 991, 996 (9th Cir. 2007); Gordon, 393 F.3d at 1048; United States v. Dickerson, 370 F.3d 1330, 1338 (11th Cir. 2004); United States v. Randle, 324 F.3d 550, 555-56 & nn.2-3 (7th Cir. 2003).5 Although the MVRA does not apply to criminal violations of Title 26, the MVRA does apply to criminal tax cases involving violations of Title 18, when the offenses are committed by fraud or deceit and are offenses against property, such as conspiracy to defraud the United States or to commit tax fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, or mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. See United States v. Turner, 718 F.3d 226, 235- 36 (3d Cir. 2013) (holding that MVRA required sentencing court to order restitution in case involving Klein conspiracy); United States v. Senty-Haugen, 449 F.3d 862, 865 (8th Cir. 2006) (district court properly ordered defendant convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government to pay restitution to the IRS); United States v. Kubick, 205 F.3d 1117, 1128-29 (9th Cir. 1999) (mandatory restitution ordered on convictions for conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service, each in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371); United States v. Bonner, 522 F.3d 804, 808 (7th Cir. 2008) (mail fraud against Social Security Administration); United States v. Cheal, 389 F.3d 35, 46-47 (1st Cir. 2004) (mail and wire fraud); United States v. Boyd, 239 F.3d 471, 471-72 (2d Cir. 2001) (same). 5 There are exceptions to the MVRA’s mandate that sentencing courts order restitution. The MVRA provides that a court is not obligated to order restitution if it finds that (1) "the number of identifiable victims is so large as to make restitution impractical" or (2) "determining complex issues of fact related to the cause or amount of the victim's losses would complicate or prolong the sentencing process to a degree that the need to provide restitution to any victim is outweighed by the burden on the sentencing process." 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(c)(3). See Serawop, 505 F.3d at 1124-25 (district court could have left complex matters to civil determination). - 7 - 11331015.1 The term “‘offense against property’ applies to those offenses in which physical or tangible property, including money, is taken (or attempted to be taken) by theft, deceit or fraud.” United States v. Cummings, 189 F. Supp. 2d. 67, 73 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); see Dickerson, 370 F.3d at 1336 n.12 (wire fraud is an offense against property). In United States v. Turner, 718 F.3d 226 (3d Cir. 2013), the Third Circuit held that the defendant’s “conspiracy to defraud the IRS of its property, [defendant’s] tax dollars, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, is an ‘offense against property under this title [title 18],’ and consequently covered by the MVRA.” 718 F.3d at 236; see also United States v. Meredith, 685 F.3d 814, 827 (9th Cir.2012) (applying MVRA to conspiracy to defraud the IRS in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371). Mandatory restitution has also been ordered in cases involving false claims against the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287. See United States v. Jones, 289 F.3d 1260, 1263-64 (11th Cir. 2002) (defendant filed false tax returns on behalf of a number of third parties). Offenses against property may also include wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and offenses involving stolen property. See United States v. Myers, 198 F.3d 160, 168-69 (5th Cir. 1999); United States v. Stanelle, 184 F. Supp. 2d 854, 857 (E.D. Wis. 2002). The MVRA may also apply to offenses involving purely financial losses. See United States v. Overholt, 307 F.3d 1231, 1253-54 (10th Cir. 2002) (collecting cases); United States v. Sapoznik, 161 F.3d 1117, 1121-22 (7th Cir. 1998). Under the MVRA, the district court must establish a payment schedule and cannot delegate this judicial function to the probation office or the Bureau of Prisons. See Ward v. Chavez, 678 F.3d 1042, 1049 (9th Cir. 2012); United States v. Kyles, 601 F.3d 82, 87- 88 (2d Cir. 2010); Corley, 500 F.3d at 224-25 (district court cannot delegate determining of payment schedule to Bureau of Prisons Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, even if it makes practical sense); Lessner, 498 F.3d at 202; United States v. Day, 418 F.3d 746, 761 (7th Cir. 2005) (where evidence indicated that defendant could not make immediate payments toward restitution, order that restitution was payable immediately constituted an impermissible delegation of judicial authority to probation officer). When establishing the payment schedule, the district court must consider a defendant's financial resources and ability to pay. 18 U.S.C. 3664(f)(1)(A); see Lessner, 498 F.3d at 202 (where record indicates court’s consideration of the defendant’s financial situation -- even without express findings -- requirements of Section 3664(f)(2) are met); United States v. Ahidley, 486 F.3d 1184, 1191-93 (10th Cir. 2007) (statute expressly instructs court to consider defendant's financial resources, extensive remarks not necessary, plain error not to consider financial resources); Day, 418 F.3d 746. - 8 - 11331015.1 44.02[3] Conditions of Supervised Release or Probation (Criminal Tax Cases) Although neither Section 3663 (VWPA) nor 3663A (MVRA) provides for restitution as an independent part of the sentence for offenses under Title 26, see United States v. Hoover, 175 F.3d 564, 569 (7th Cir. 1999); United States v. Joseph, 914 F.2d 780, 783-84 (6th Cir. 1990), a combination of statutes, when read together, allows district courts to order restitution for Title 26 offenses as a condition of supervised release or probation. District courts are authorized by 18 U.S.C. 3583(d) to impose, as a condition of supervised release, “any condition set forth as a discretionary condition of probation in section 3563(b).” Section 3563(b) authorizes a district court to order a defendant to “make restitution to a victim of the offense under section 3556.” Section 3556 authorizes a district court to “order restitution in accordance with section 3663,” which in turn provides that a court “may order . . . that the defendant make restitution to any victim of such offense.” And although § 3663 by its own terms limits restitution to certain (nonTitle 26) offenses, § 3563(b) expressly provides that § 3663’s limitation in scope does not apply to restitution as a condition of probation (or, accordingly, as a condition of supervised release). See United States v. Perry, 714 F.3d 570, 577 (8th Cir. 2013); United States v. Batson, 608 F.3d 630, 633-37 (9th Cir. 2010); United States v. Frith, 461 F.3d 914, 919-20 (7th Cir. 2006) (discussing Title 15 offenses); United States v. Butler, 297 F.3d 505, 518 (6th Cir. 2002); United States v. Bok, 156 F.3d 157, 167 (2d Cir. 1998); United States v. Daniel, 956 F.2d 540, 543-44 (6th Cir. 1992); United States v. Helmsley, 941 F.2d 71, 101 (2d Cir. 1991); United States v. Comer, 93 F.3d 1271, 1278 (6th Cir. 1996). A court's authority to order restitution for Title 26 offenses as a condition of probation or supervised release is explicitly recognized in the Sentencing Guidelines, which prescribe the use of that authority. See USSG § 5E1.1(a)(2); Gall v. United States, 21 F.3d 107, 109-10 (6th Cir. 1994). Generally, under section 5E1.1(a)(2), when a defendant has been found guilty after a trial of a tax crime under Title 26 and a court finds that the government has suffered a loss, the defendant should be ordered to make restitution as a condition of supervised release. See USSG § 5E1.1(a)(2). Of course, after United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 246, 259-60 (2005), section 5E1.1 is advisory. See Frith, 461 F.3d at 919 n.2. - 9 - 11331015.1 If the sentencing court does not order restitution, it should state on the record its reasons for not imposing restitution. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3663 and 3664. Section 5E1.1(b)(2), provides that restitution need not be ordered if the district court finds that (1) “the number of identifiable victims is so large as to make restitution impracticable” or (2) “determining complex issues of fact related to the cause or amount of the victim's losses would complicate or prolong the sentencing process to a degree that the need to provide restitution to any victim is outweighed by the burden on the sentencing process.” After the period of supervised release or probation expires, the government may continue collection of the amount of restitution ordered to be paid as a condition of supervised release. Under 18 U.S.C. § 3664(m)(1)(A), “[a]n order of restitution may be enforced by the United States in the manner provided for in subchapter C of chapter 227 and subchapter B of chapter 229 of this title; or by all other available and reasonable means.”6 Subchapter B of chapter 229 of Title 18 includes 18 U.S.C. § 3613, which allows the government a 20-year period to enforce monetary judgments (such as a restitution orders). See United States v. Young, 593 F.3d 773, 774 (8th Cir. 2010) (Garnishment after term of supervised release was appropriate because the obligation to pay restitution did not terminate when supervised release ended); United States v. Sloan, 505 F.3d 685, 693 (7th Cir. 2007) (restitution ordered as condition of probation; after probation period expired, government sought continuing garnishment order to protect its interests); United States v. Ridgeway, 489 F.3d 732, 738 (5th Cir. 2007) (“The limitation provisions in 18 U.S.C. § 3663(f)(1)-(3) only limit when [restitution] payments are due, not when they can be collected.”); FDIC v. Dover, 453 F.3d 710, 715 (6th Cir. 2006); United States v. Berardini, 112 F.3d 606, 611 (2d Cir. 1997); United States v. Rostoff, 164 F.3d 63, 66-68 & n.7 (1st Cir. 1999); United States v. Fuentes, 107 F.3d 1515, 1533 n.33 (11th Cir. 1997) (dicta); United States v. House, 808 F.2d 508, 511 (7th Cir. 1986) (under the predecessor to Section 3663). As the First Circuit explained in Rostoff, “[t]his reasoning reflects the approach . . . that the VWPA should be read to protect victims and not defendants.” 164 F.3d at 66 (citing House, 808 F.2d at 508); United States v. Keith, 754 F.2d 1388, 1393 (9th Cir. 1985); see also 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2515, 2515 (“The purpose of [the VWPA] is to 6 Before 1996, a slightly narrower version of this provision was contained in 18 U.S.C. 3663(h), which provided that an order of restitution could be enforced by the United States “(A) in the manner provided for the collection and payment of fines in subchapter B of chapter 229 of this title; or (B) in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.” See AEDPA, Pub.L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, § 205(a)(2) (deleting 3663(h) and creating 3664(m)). - 10 - 11331015.1 strengthen existing legal protections for victims and witnesses of Federal crimes.”); id. at 2537 (uncertainties in damages determinations should be resolved with “a view toward achieving fairness to the victim ”). A contrary rule would provide “defendants an incentive to ‘run[ ] out the clock in the fourth quarter of play’ rather than to redress their wrongs.” Rostoff, 164 F.3d at 67 (citation omitted). Moreover, the fact that the last payment of restitution is due at the end of the period of supervised release has nothing to do with the duration or expiration of the restitution order. See id. 66-67 & n.7; House, 808 F.2d at 511 (7th Cir. 1986) (rejecting government’s confession of error); Keith, 754 F.2d at 1393. "Common sense dictates that failure to pay at the time due renders payment overdue; it does not abate the obligation entirely.” Rostoff, 164 F.3d at 66 (citing United States v. Soderling, 970 F.2d 529, 535 & n.12 (9th Cir. 1992) (noting that a restitution order is “extinguished only by satisfaction, not by the passage of time”)). 44.02[4] Civil Assessments Based on Criminal Restitution Orders As of August 16, 2010, the IRS can use a restitution order in a criminal tax case as the basis for a civil tax assessment. See 26 U.S.C. § 6201(a)(4). The IRS can make the assessment as soon as any criminal appeals have concluded. See 26 U.S.C. § 6201(a)(4)(B). The defendant may not challenge the amount of an assessment based on a criminal restitution order. See 26 U.S.C. § 6201(a)(4)(C). The IRS’s ability to use restitution orders as the basis for civil assessments increases the enforcement and collection options available. In order to ensure that the IRS is able to properly assess the restitution amount, prosecutors should make sure that the court’s restitution order includes a detailed breakdown of the loss amount, including the loss attributable to each tax year at issue and the names of any third-party taxpayers. A sample restitution order is available here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title6/tax00021.htm.. 44.03 CALCULATION OF AMOUNT OF RESTITUTION 44.03[1] Actual Loss In any criminal tax case, care should be exercised in determining the amount of the loss suffered by the IRS. The VWPA provides guidance regarding the calculation of the amount of restitution to be ordered. See Hughey v. United States, 495 U.S. 411, 418 (1990); United States v. Minneman, 143 F.3d 274, 284-85 (7th Cir. 1998); United States - 11 - 11331015.1 v. Mullins, 971 F.2d 1138, 1146-47 (4th Cir. 1992).7 The VWPA provides that "in the case of an offense resulting in damage to or loss or destruction of property of a victim of the offense," the restitution order may require return of the property or, if that is impossible, impractical, or inadequate, payment of an amount equal to "the value of the property on the date of sentencing." 18 U.S.C. § 3663(b)(1). In a criminal tax case, the offense generally results in the loss of government property, to wit, the money to which the government was entitled under the tax laws but which was not paid by the defendant.8 See Pasquantino v. United States, 544 U.S. 349, 355-56 (2005) (unpaid tax constituted property under the wire fraud statute); United States v. Porcelli, 865 F.2d 1352, 1358, 1360 (2d Cir. 1989) (obligation to pay New York State tax on gasoline sales likened to chose in action); United States v. Pierce, 224 F.2d 158, 165-66 (2d Cir. 2000); United States v. Helmsley, 941 F.2d 71, 94 (2d Cir. 1991) (necessary property interest existed in unpaid New York State income and corporate franchise taxes); Freeman v. Mayer, 253 F.2d 295, 298 (3d Cir. 1958) (term "choses in action" includes ordinary debts for taxes); see also United States v. Yusuf, 536 F.3d 178, 189 (3d Cir. 2008) (unpaid United States Virgin Islands’ gross receipts tax constituted proceeds of mail fraud). 7 The determination of the amount of restitution imposed as a condition of supervised release for Title 18 offenses is governed by the rules set forth in the VWPA. See U.S.S.G. §5E1.1; Gall v. United States, 21 F.3d 107, 110-11 (6th Cir. 1996) (restitution imposed as a condition of supervised release must still be imposed in conformity with VWPA; vacating restitution ordered pursuant to guilty plea that did not mention restitution for losses arising from mere allegations of crimes for which defendant was not convicted); United States v. Daniel, 956 F.2d 540, 543 (6th Cir. 1992); United States v. Husky, 924 F.2d 223, 226 n.4 (11th Cir. 1991) (section 5E1.1 provides that restitution shall be ordered in accordance with the VWPA). 8 In United States v. Touchet, 658 F.2d 1074, 1076 (5th Cir. 1981), the Fifth Circuit, relying on United States v. Taylor, 305 F.2d 183 (4th Cir. 1962), a Fourth Circuit case interpreting language in the nowrepealed Probation Act, 18 U.S.C. 3651, stated that “[u]ntil there has been a definitive determination or adjudication of the amount of taxes Touchet owes, he may not be required to pay charged deficiency sums as a prerequisite of probation or as a condition for release from custody.” See United States v. Stuver, 845 F.2d 73, 76 (4th Cir. 1988) (noting that the result in Taylor was predicated on language in the Probation Act). The law under which restitution is currently imposed contains different language. The Fourth Circuit now allows restitution to be imposed as a condition of supervised release in a tax case without satisfaction of the conditions identified in Taylor. See United States v. Lewis, 235 F.3d 215, 219 (4th Cir. 2000) (although it vacated the restitution order because the district court “did not make any factual findings as to the proper amount of restitution or as to Lewis' ability to pay,” court of appeals recognized that a district court has the authority to impose restitution as a condition of supervised release in a tax case); United States v. Long, No. 94-5029, 1995 WL 703548, at *1 (4th Cir. 1995) (district courts can now impose restitution as a condition of supervised release in tax cases “without having to satisfy Taylor”); see also United States v. Butler, 297 F.3d 505, 518 (6th Cir. 2002). And in United States v. Nolen, 523 F.3d 331, 333 (5th Cir. 2008), the Fifth Circuit made clear that “under the current statutory scheme, restitution may be imposed if done so as a condition of supervised release in a criminal tax case, even in the absence of a prior definitive determination or adjudication of the amount of taxes owed . . . .” - 12 - 11331015.1 For purposes of determining the amount of restitution, Section 3663(a)(1)(A) requires a showing of actual loss. See United States v. Chalupnik, 514 F.3d 748, 754 (8th Cir. 2008); United States v. Galloway, 509 F.3d 1246, 1253 (10th Cir. 2007) (restitution must be based on actual loss, not on the amount of gain to the defendant); United States v. Germosen, 139 F.3d 120, 130 (2d Cir. 1998). Restitution in a criminal case may only compensate a victim for actual losses caused by the defendant’s criminal conduct. See United States v. Serawop, 505 F.3d 1112, 1124 (10th Cir. 2007) (district court that orders restitution in an amount greater than the total loss caused by the offense exceeds its statutory jurisdiction and imposes illegal sentence); United States v. Brock-Davis, 504 F.3d 991, 998 (9th Cir. 2007); United States v. Gaytan, 342 F.3d 1010, 1011 (9th Cir. 2003); United States v. Bussell, 414 F.3d 1048, 1061 (9th Cir. 2005) (reversing restitution order based on intended loss because amount of restitution is limited by the victim’s actual loss; directing district court on remand to compare what actually happened with what would have happened if defendant had acted lawfully). 44.03[2] Loss underlying the offense of conviction 44.03[2][a] General Rule Generally, the amount of restitution is limited to losses caused by the specific conduct underlying the offense of conviction, and does not include relevant conduct.9 See Hughey, 495 U.S. at 420; United States v. Batson, 608 F.3d 630, 637 (9th Cir. 2010); United States v. Nolen, 523 F.3d 331, 332-33 (5th Cir. 2008); United States v. Wright, 496 F.3d 371, 381-82 (5th Cir. 2007); United States v. Firth, 461 F.3d 914, 920 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Inman, 411 F.3d 591, 595 (5th Cir. 2005) (remanding restitution order on plain error review where the amount of restitution was not limited to the conduct underlying the offense for which defendant was convicted); Germosen, 139 F.3d at 131; United States v. Campbell, 106 F.3d 64, 69-70 (5th Cir. 1997) ("relevant conduct" provisions of guidelines are inapplicable to determination of amount of restitution); United States v. Daniel, 956 F.2d 540, 543 (6th Cir. 1992). 44.03[2][b] Scheme, Conspiracy, or Pattern However, when the count of conviction includes a scheme, conspiracy, or pattern of criminal activity as an element of the offense, as in a conspiracy to defraud, in 9 There are exceptions to this general rule, which will be discussed further below. - 13 - 11331015.1 violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, or mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § l341, the restitution order may include losses caused by acts of related conduct for which the defendant was not convicted. 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(2); see United States v. Foley, 508 F.3d 627, 635-36 (11th Cir. 2007) (restitution amount properly included acquitted conduct; district court could award restitution to any victim of the scheme furthered by the defendant’s mail fraud offense); Brock-Davis, 504 F.3d at 998-99 (restitution may be ordered for losses to persons harmed in the course of the defendant’s scheme even beyond the counts of conviction); United States v. Farrington, 499 F.3d 854, 860-61 (8th Cir. 2007) (restitution may be ordered in wire fraud case for criminal conduct part of a broad scheme to defraud regardless of whether the defendant is convicted of each fraudulent act in the scheme); Wright, 496 F.3d at 381-82 (where fraudulent scheme is element of offense, court may award restitution for actions pursuant to that scheme; restitution limited to specific temporal scope of indictment) (quoting Inman, 411 F.3d at 595); United States v. Gordon, 480 F.3d 1205, 1211 (10th Cir. 2007); United States v. Dickerson, 370 F.3d at 1339, 1342-43 (district court may include in restitution order losses caused by acts outside the statute of limitations, when losses resulted directly from criminal conduct in course of the scheme and loses are closely related to the scheme) (citing United States v. Welsand, 23 F.3d 205, 206-07 (8th Cir. 1994)); United States v. Lawrence, 189 F.3d 838, 847-48 (9th Cir. 1999) (district court found that acts underlying bankruptcy fraud charges were part of overall scheme alleged in mail fraud count). A defendant in a conspiracy may be held liable for all reasonably foreseeable losses caused to the victims by the conspiracy. See United States v. Cohen, 459 F.3d 490, 500 (4th Cir. 2006) (court properly ordered defendant to pay restitution to all victims of the offense even if the defendant did not expressly admit to each and every overt act alleged in support of the conspiracy); United States v. Solares, 236 F.3d 24, 26 (1st Cir. 2000); United States v. Boyd, 222 F.3d 47, 50-51 (2d Cir. 2000) (jury acquitted defendant on conspiracy charge but convicted defendant on substantive counts on theory of coconspirator liability under Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946); not plain error for district court to require defendant to pay restitution for losses that were reasonably foreseeable; VWPA allows courts to order conspirator to pay restitution even on uncharged or acquitted counts; collecting cases); United States v. Collins, 209 F.3d 1, 2-3 (1st Cir. 1999) (defendant convicted of conspiracy responsible for all reasonably foreseeable losses caused in the course of defendant's criminal conduct, whether defendant is convicted of each offense); United States v. Nichols, 169 F.3d 1255, 1278 (10th Cir. 1999); United States v. Hensley, 91 F.3d 274, 276-77 (1st Cir. 1996); see also - 14 - 11331015.1 United States v. Mann, 493 F.3d 484, 498 (5th Cir. 2007) (court can include in restitution amount all losses caused by scheme when defendant is convicted of scheme to defraud); but see United States v. Wright, 496 F.3d at 382 (error to award restitution for losses unconnected to scheme of conviction); United States v. Davenport, 445 F.3d 366, 373-74 (4th Cir. 2006) (district court cannot order restitution under MVRA to persons not victims of the offense for which the defendant was convicted); United States v. Pollak, 844 F.2d 145, 149-52 (3d Cir. 1988) (a defendant named in counts charging an overall scheme to defraud may not be required to pay restitution with respect to counts on which he was acquitted). 44.03[3] Interest In imposing restitution, a district court may include both prejudgment and postjudgment interest. See United States v. Perry, 714 F.3d 570, 577 (8th Cir. 2013) (affirming inclusion of interest in restitution to IRS because the full loss to the victim included the time value of money); United States v. Jimenez, 513 F.3d 62, 87 (3d Cir. 2008); United States v. Gordon, 393 F.3d 1044, 1058-59 (9th Cir. 2004) (prejudgment interest is necessary to make the victim whole, interpreting MVRA); Virgin Islands v. Davis, 43 F.3d 41, 47 (3d Cir. 1994) (prejudgment interest is an aspect of victim's actual loss); United States v. Patty, 992 F.2d 1045, 1049 (10th Cir. 1993) (prejudgment interest reflects the victim's loss due to his inability to use the money for a productive purpose and is necessary to make the victim whole); United States v. Kress, 944 F.2d 155, 160 (3d Cir. 1991) (postjudgment interest may be included in restitution order); see also Helmsley, 941 F.2d at 101 (defendant ordered to pay restitution to government of taxes owed and all penalties and interest thereon; court found that defendant had acquiesced to the amount of restitution in the presentence report). Accordingly, prosecutors should request prejudgment interest in all cases for which restitution is imposed (i.e., in cases involving either Title 18 violations or Title 26 violations). In cases involving the MVRA (i.e., cases involving Title 18 violations), prosecutors may be able to argue that prejudgment interest is mandatory. While the Tax Division is not aware of any cases holding that the MVRA requires the inclusion of prejudgment interest in the restitution amount, there is some authority to support such an argument. The MVRA requires the court to order the defendant to pay the greater of the value of the property on the date of the offense or the value of the property on the date of sentencing. See 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b). The value of the tax loss on the date of sentencing - 15 - 11331015.1 should include interest. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 6601, 6621. Moreover, 18 U.S.C. § 3664(f)(1)(A) instructs the sentencing court to order “restitution to each victim in the full amount of each victim’s losses” (emphasis added). Prosecutors can argue that prejudgment interest accounts for the lost time-value of money and is necessary to make the IRS whole. And the MVRA’s emphasis on full compensation for victims suggests that prejudgment interest is appropriate. See Rodgers v. United States, 332 U.S. 371, 373-74 (1947) (holding that the test for determining whether interest should be included requires weighing the “relative equities” between the beneficiaries of the obligation and those upon whom it has been imposed); Davis, 43 F.3d at 47 (“the inclusion of prejudgment interest . . . is an aspect of the victim’s actual loss which must be accounted for in the calculation of restitution in order to effect full compensation”); see also Gordon, 393 F.3d at 1058-59 (9th Cir. 2004) (affirming order requiring defendant to pay prejudgment interest on assets embezzled from his corporate employer); United States v. Shepard, 269 F.3d 884, 886 (7th Cir. 2001) (stating that prejudgment interest should be included in restitution due from defendant who embezzled funds from an elderly victim’s interest-bearing account). 44.03[4] Penalties As a general rule, the amount of the loss does not include penalties. See Chalupnik, 514 F.3d at 754 (amount of restitution is limited to victim’s provable actual loss, even if more punitive remedies would be available in a civil action); United States v. Bussell, II, 504 F.3d 956, 964-65 (9th Cir. 2007) (actual loss for restitution purposes is determined by comparing what actually happened with what would have happened if the defendant had acted lawfully (citations omitted)); Gordon, 393 F.3d at 1053 (primary and overarching goal of restitution statutes is “to make victims of crime whole, to fully compensate these victims for their losses and to restore these victims to their original state of well-being” (internal quotation omitted) (emphasis in original)).10 An exception applies, however, in evasion of payment cases and failure to pay cases. See USSG §1T1.1(c)(1). The commentary to that section provided that “[t]he tax loss does not include interest or penalties, except in willful evasion of payment cases under 26 U.S.C. § 7201 and willful failure to pay cases under 26 U.S.C. § 7203.” The 10 In an evasion of payment case under 26 U.S.C. § 7201, prosecutors may be able to argue that the restitution amount should also include penalties the evasion of which the defendant attempted in the course of committing his offense. The Tax Division has not found any cases on point. - 16 - 11331015.1 First Circuit addressed this issue in United States v. Thomas, 635 F.3d 13, 16-17 (1st Cir. 2011). The Thomas court analyzed whether penalties and interest could be included as tax loss in a case where the defendant pleaded guilty to evasion of assessment. The court looked at relevant conduct and determined that the defendant’s evasion of payment conduct in years preceding the evasion of assessment charge to which the defendant pleaded guilty was relevant conduct. Because penalties may be included in tax loss in evasion of payment cases, the court could properly include penalties in its tax loss calculation. Id. Accord United States v. Josephberg, 562 F.3d 478, 502-03 (2d Cir. 2009) and United States v. Barker, 556 F.3d 682 (8th Cir. 2009). 44.03[5] Tax Loss Versus Actual Loss The calculation of the amount of loss for purposes of restitution when the IRS is the victim may be closely related to the calculation of the tax loss used to determine a defendant's base offense level. But tax loss under the Sentencing Guidelines is usually the intended loss, while the amount of restitution is always limited to an actual loss. Thus, tax loss may be greater than the amount of restitution. Generally, however, the district court may rely upon the same "quantity and quality of evidence" to determine the amount of loss in both contexts. See Germosen, 139 F.3d at 130; United States v. Copus, 110 F.3d 1529, 1537 (10th Cir. 1997). Although the district court has broad discretion to determine the type and amount of evidence to support an award of restitution, the court cannot simply “‘accept uncritically an amount recommended by the probation office.’” United States v. Najjor, 255 F.3d 979, 984 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting United States v. Barany, 884 F.2d 1255, 1261 (9th Cir. 1989)); see United States v. Tran, 234 F.3d 798, 814 (2d Cir. 2000) (it is not enough that district court had before it a PSR including information relevant to factors mandated by 18 U.S.C. § 3364; district court's statement that it reviewed the PSR in detail is not enough to indicate that it considered specific statutory factors in setting restitution payment schedule under MVRA). The court must make an independent determination as to the amount of the loss suffered by the victim as a result of the defendant's conduct. See Najjor, 255 F.3d at 984. - 17 - 11331015.1 44.03[6] Proof of Restitution Amount The prosecutor must establish the amount of loss for restitution by a preponderance of the evidence. See McMillan v. Pennsylvania, 477 U.S. 79, 97-92 (1986); Chalupnik, 514 F.3d at 754; Brock-Davis, 504 F.3d at 998; United States v. DeRosier, 501 F.3d 888, 896 (8th Cir. 2007); United States v. Vaghela, 169 F.3d 729, 736 (11th Cir. 1999); Minneman, 143 F.3d at 284-85; United States v. Vaknin, 112 F.3d 579, 587 (1st Cir. 1997) (a restitution award "cannot be woven solely from the gossamer strands of speculation and surmise"); United States v. Boney, 977 F.2d 624, 636 (D.C. Cir. 1992); United States v. Lowden, 955 F.2d 128, 130 (1st Cir. 1992); United States v. Mullins, 971 F.2d 1138, 1147 (4th Cir. 1992) (government must establish amount of restitution by preponderance of evidence if amount is disputed). 44.03[7] No Delegation of Judicial Functions The district court must determine the amount of restitution and must state that the defendant is required to pay a sum certain. As a general rule, the district court may not delegate the judicial functions inherent in the grant of restitution to another body such as the probation office or the IRS. Compare United States v. Corley, 500 F.3d 210, 224-27 (3d Cir. 2007) (order directing immediate payment when district court knows defendant is indigent is indistinguishable from improper outright delegation of authority to Bureau of Prisons), reversed on other grounds at 533 U.S. 303 (2009) ; United States v. Overholt, 307 F.3d 1231, 1255-56 (10th Cir. 2002) (where district court knew defendant could not pay restitution immediately, court's failure to set appropriate payment schedule essentially delegated court's responsibility to Bureau of Prisons and probation office; collecting cases discussing split in circuits); Butler, 297 F.3d at 518 (district court could not order restitution in an amount "To be determined thru tax court or IRS."); United States v. Pandiello, 184 F.3d 682, 688 (7th Cir. 1999) (leaving to Inmate Financial Responsibility Program decision as to how much restitution defendant must pay while incarcerated is an improper delegation of judicial authority and constitutes plain error); United States v. Wells, 177 F.3d 603, 612 (7th Cir. 1999); United States v. Kinlock, 174 F.3d 297, 300 (2d Cir. 1999); United States v. Mikaelian, 168 F.3d 380, 390-91 (9th Cir 1999) (provision that “if the probation officer were to determine that Mr. Mikaelian does not have the ability to make such restitution, the probation officer may make such - 18 - 11331015.1 adjustments in the restitution amount as is [sic] appropriate under the circumstances” invalid); United States v. Porter, 41 F.3d 68, 71 (2d Cir. 1994) (order that probation would have discretion to set schedule for payment of restitution improper); United States v. Braxtonbrown-Smith, 278 F.3d 1348, 1356 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (court may not allow probation to modify amount of restitution defendant must pay upon release from custody); with Weinberger v. United States, 268 F.3d 346, 360 & n.3 (6th Cir. 2001) (under VWPA court may delegate setting of payment schedule so long as court first determines the amount of the restitution; collecting cases and discussing circuit split); but see United States v. Davis, 306 F.3d 398 (6th Cir. 2002) (MVRA requires district court to specify payment schedule; court may, however, elicit assistance of others in setting schedule). Note that imposing, as a condition of supervised release, minimum periodic payments for restitution due and payable immediately has been held not to constitute a payment schedule and not to contradict the requirement that restitution be paid in full immediately. See United States v. Fariduddin, 469 F.3d 1111, 1113 (7th Cir. 2006). 44.03[8] Amount of Loss Agreed to in Plea Agreement The major exception to the general rule that restitution is limited to losses caused by the offense of conviction is in cases involving plea agreements. The VWPA provides that district courts may order restitution "in any criminal case to the extent agreed to by the parties in a plea agreement . . . ." 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(3) (emphasis added). Thus, the parties to a plea agreement in any criminal tax case may authorize restitution in an amount greater than the loss attributable to the offense of conviction. See e.g., United States v. Sloan, 505 F.3d 685, 695 (7th Cir. 2007); United States v. Cooper, 498 F.3d 1156, 1158 (10th Cir. 2007) (party to plea agreement can agree in plea agreement to pay restitution to persons other than the victim of the offense of conviction, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2)); United States v. Blake, 81 F.3d 498, 506 (4th Cir. 1996); United States v. Schrimsher, 58 F.3d 608, 609 (11th Cir. 1995); United States v. Silkowski, 32 F.3d 682, 688-89 (2d Cir. 1994); United States v. Baker, 25 F.3d 1452, 1457 (9th Cir. 1994). This is sometimes referred to as “heightened restitution.” The best practice is to identify in the plea agreement the specific amount of restitution the defendant agrees to pay. The parties to a plea agreement may also agree that the court may order restitution to persons other than the victim of the offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3663(a)(1)(A); see Gordon, 480 F.3d at 1211; Cooper, 498 F.3d at 1158; United States v. Firment, 296 F.3d 118, 122 (2d Cir. 2002); United States v. Ubakanma, 215 F.3d 421, 427-28 & n.7 (4th Cir. 2000) - 19 - 11331015.1 (reversing restitution ordered payable to United States, where victim of offense was a specifically named person in the United Arab Emirates and plea agreement did not provide for payment of restitution to persons other than the victim of the offense). When a defendant agrees to pay heightened restitution, the government must still prove that the loss to be repaid resulted from the defendant's criminal conduct. See Patty, 992 F.2d at 1050 (heightened restitution agreed to by defendant included amounts and victims not charged in the indictment, but defendant's fraudulent conduct caused losses). A court may order a defendant to pay restitution to the victim of an offense in excess of the loss that resulted from the offense only up to the amount agreed upon by the parties. See United States v. Bartsh, 985 F.2d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 1993); United States v. Arnold, 947 F.2d 1236, 1238 (5th Cir. 1991). To permit any restitution beyond that generally allowable, a plea agreement must specifically state both that the defendant will pay restitution and the amount of restitution that the defendant will pay. See United States v. Phillips, 174 F.3d 1074, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999); Weinberger, 268 F.3d at 356-57; United States v. Gottesman, 122 F.3d 150, 152-53 (2d Cir. 1997). If, however, the plea agreement does not provide for heightened restitution in excess of the loss caused by the offense of conviction, the court may still order restitution to any victim, including the IRS, to the extent of the loss caused by the offense of conviction. See Wienberger, 268 F.3d at 357; United States v. Broughton-Jones, 71 F.3d 1143, 1148 (4th Cir. 1995). 44.03[9] Mandatory Restitution The restitution amount under the MVRA is generally the amount of the property taken from the victim. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(1)(A), (B). The MVRA directs that restitution be ordered to any victims who are "directly and proximately harmed" as a result of the offense of conviction. 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2). Thus, the district court lacks discretion to consider a defendant's financial circumstances in calculating the restitution amount under the MVRA. See United States v. Chay, 281 F.3d 682, 686 (7th Cir. 2002); United States v. Jones, 289 F.3d 1260, 1265-66 (11th Cir. 2002). Even under the MVRA, there are exceptions to the requirement to order restitution. While the MVRA explicitly states that courts "shall order restitution" for certain crimes, both statutory and judicial exceptions to the rule exist. The MVRA provides that a court is not obligated to order restitution if it finds that (1) "the number of identifiable victims is so large as to make restitution impractical" or (2) "determining complex issues of fact related to the cause or amount of the victim's losses would complicate or prolong the sentencing - 20 - 11331015.1 process to a degree that the need to provide restitution to any victim is outweighed by the burden on the sentencing process." 18 U.S.C. 3663A(c)(3). See United States v. Galloway, 509 F.3d 1246, 1254 (10th Cir. 2007). One district court created a judicial exception to mandatory restitution when it found that restitution would be "patently absurd." United States v. Martinez, 978 F. Supp. 1442, 1453 (D. N.M. 1997). In Martinez, the court rejected the argument that an illegally operated casino was entitled to restitution where the defendant was convicted of a crime of violence against it. The court stated that although the MVRA unambiguously states that restitution must be ordered for victims of a crime of violence, "[i]t is intuitively obvious that Congress did not intend to have the federal judiciary take the lead in rewarding, through restitution orders, persons robbed of monies they had obtained by unlawful means . . . ." Martinez, 978 F. Supp at 1453. 44.04 CHANGE IN FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES Once a court has entered a restitution order, a defendant may experience significant changes in his economic circumstances. United States v. Overholt, 307 F.3d 1231, 1256 (10th Cir. 2002). Changes in the economic circumstances of a defendant may also come to the attention of the government. Section 3664 of Title 18 specifically addresses what is to happen in such a situation. The court is to be notified of the change in circumstances and then may adjust the schedule accordingly. Section 3664(k) states: A restitution order shall provide that the defendant shall notify the court and the Attorney General of any material change in the defendant's economic circumstances that might affect the defendant's ability to pay restitution. The court may also accept notification of a material change in the defendant's economic circumstances from the United States or from the victim. The Attorney General shall certify to the court that the victim or victims owed restitution by the defendant have been notified of the change in circumstances. Upon receipt of the notification, the court may, on its own motion, or the motion of any party, including the victim, adjust the payment schedule, or require immediate payment in full, as the interests of justice require. - 21 - 11331015.1 44.05 DISCHARGE OF RESTITUTION ORDERS IN BANKRUPTCY Restitution orders are not subject to discharge in bankruptcy proceedings. 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(7), 1538(a)(3). See Kelly v. Robinson, 479 U.S. 36, 52 (1986); United States v. Ridgeway, 489 F.3d 732, 737-38 (5th Cir. 2007); In re Verola, 446 F.3d 1206, 1207-08 (11th Cir. 2006) (state restitution order not dischargeable); United States v. Leahy, 438 F.3d 328, 342 (3d Cir. 2006). 44.06 NO COMPROMISE OF CIVIL TAX LIABILITY Prosecutors should remember that, as discussed in Section 44.03 above, restitution in criminal tax cases is limited only to losses caused by the criminal conduct of the defendant and generally does not include penalties or amounts of tax related to purely civil items. Therefore, in all criminal tax cases in which a restitution order is contemplated, care should be taken not to compromise the ability of the IRS to attempt to collect the civil tax liability, interest, and penalties. The sample plea language located in the Criminal Resource Manual contains language designed to protect the civil liability. For an example of what can happen when care is not taken to protect the IRS’s ability to collect civil tax liability, see Creel v. Commissioner, 419 F.3d 1135 (11th Cir. 2005). In Creel, the defendant agreed to pay “$83,830 plus any applicable penalties and interest” for the years 1986 to 1991. 419 F.3d at 1138. Creel paid the full $83,830, but no interest. Id. The United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) issued a satisfaction and release of lien that stated that “restitution imposed by the Court . . . having been paid or otherwise settled,” the monetary judgment is satisfied. The satisfaction and release of lien also directed that the judgment lien previously recorded should be “fully released, satisfied, discharged, and cancelled” because it had been “paid in full.” Id. The IRS applied the restitution payments to tax, interest, and penalties for 1986 and part of 1987. After the USAO issued its satisfaction of judgment and release of lien, the IRS attempted to collect tax, interest, and penalties for 1987 through 1991. 419 F.3d at 1138. Creel petitioned the Tax Court, which held that Creel’s debt for those years had been settled by the satisfaction and release of lien issued by the USAO. Id., at 1139. The court of appeals affirmed. Creel, 419 F.3d at 1141-42. Use of the standard language for the restitution portion of plea agreements and judgment and commitment orders created by the Joint IRS/DOJ Task Force should - 22 - 11331015.1 prevent this type of problem from recurring. See USAM, Title 6, Tax Resource Manual, 18-21. 44.07 THE DAY OF SENTENCING Prosecutors should recognize that any number of unusual things can happen on the day of sentencing. A defendant may come to sentencing with completed tax returns. If this happens, the prosecutor should ensure that the special agent takes the returns. The special agent should deliver the returns to IRS Technical Services, Fraud Coordinator (Exam). An important consideration in such an instance is preserving the ability of the IRS to assert the fraud penalty. A defendant may also show up at sentencing with a large check, wanting to make a payment. The prosecutor and the special agent need to try to determine what exactly it is that the defendant is trying to pay. The defendant may be trying to pay restitution that he or she agreed to pay in a plea agreement. If that is the case, the prosecutor or the special agent should take the check but wait until after the sentencing to find out whether the court actually orders the defendant to pay restitution. If the court does enter a restitution order, after sentencing, the special agent should take the check to the Clerk of the District Court (even if the check is made out to the IRS or the Treasury Department). The prosecutor or special agent should ask the defendant to provide his or her social security number to the Clerk of the Court. The special agent should also provide the Clerk of the Court with the address of the IRS restitution processing office. It is also possible that the defendant may simply want to make a payment on his or her past due tax liabilities in order to demonstrate to the sentencing judge that the defendant is remorseful or has accepted responsibility. In that case, the prosecutor should refer the defendant to the special agent who should take the check and find out from the defendant to what years or periods the defendant wants the money applied. After the sentencing hearing, the special agent should check to see whether a revenue officer or revenue agent has been assigned to the defendant’s case. If not, the special agent should deliver the check to Technical Services, Fraud Coordinator (Exam) and ensure that the defendant’s account is properly credited. - 23 - 11331015.1 44.08 FURTHER GUIDANCE For additional information, prosecutors can refer to the Prosecutor’s Guide to Criminal Monetary Penalties. Prosecutors with questions on restitution can contact attorney Elissa Hart-Mahan, Criminal Appeals and Tax Enforcement Policy Section, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, at (202) 305-7397 or by email at elissa.r.hart@usdoj.gov