United States Postal Inspection Service

Victims of Financial Crime

As a victim of crime, your assistance is important to ensure that justice is achieved. Investigations of financial crime may be complex and involve several law enforcement agencies. The criminal justice process ensures that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a criminal court.

If you remember or learn of new information about the crime, contact your case agent or coordinator. You may also input the information at the online Victim Notification System. It's important to report any address changes during an investigation or prosecution.

If your case is indicted, the U.S. Attorney's Office will contact you. You have the right to be apprised of the continuing status of your case, to provide a victim-impact statement, to request restitution, and to learn about a defendant's release from prison. Coordinators at each office will serve as your liaison throughout the process to answer questions and address your concerns. Some rights may be available only if your case is accepted for prosecution.

What You Can Do About Financial Losses
Collect and save paperwork related to your loss. If an arrest and conviction is obtained, the judge will consider requiring the offender to pay you for certain losses (called restitution). You may be asked to provide verification of your loss amount.

Some losses may be tax deductible. Consult a qualified tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service to see if they qualify.

You may be able to recover losses through a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime. Your state or local bar association lists attorneys who specialize in this area of law and can determine if your case is appropriate for civil action. Small claims courts in the county where the crime occurred may also be of help.

Getting Your Money Back
The sentencing judge may order a convicted defendant to pay restitution to victims of certain crimes. For some federal crime, it is mandatory for convicted defendants to pay restitution. However, it's possible you will never receive meaningful restitution from convicted defendants with no money or limited potential to make money, particularly in fraud cases with many victims. Regardless, the federal government will work earnestly to ensure that any assets owned by a sentenced defendant are considered for court-ordered restitution.

What You Can Do to Address Financial or Credit Problems
Some victims experience severe financial losses, rendering them unable to meet financial obligations. If your personal or financial information is stolen, your credit and your immediate finances may be affected.

Consider these options:

  • Contact your creditors and a nonprofit credit counseling service, who may help you reduce or modify your payments, or to limit access to your accounts.
  • Be alert. Con artists may contact victims, claiming to help recover losses for a fee, or may sell your name to other fraudsters. If called, contact your case agent or one of the agencies listed to verify the company's legitimacy.
  • For more information on what to do if you think you are a victim of identity theft, please visit the Identity Theft Resource Center Web site (http://www.idtheftcenter.org/)


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