JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
The restitution provisions of the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 (VWPA), 18 U. S. C. §§ 3579, 3580 (1982 ed. and Supp. IV), authorize federal courts, when sentencing defendants convicted of certain offenses, to order, "in addition to or in lieu of any other penalty authorized by law, that the defendant make restitution to any victim of such offense." 18 U. S. C. § 3579(a)(1) (1982 ed., Supp. IV). We must decide whether these provisions allow a court to order a defendant who is charged with multiple offenses but who is convicted
In 1986, petitioner Frasiel L. Hughey was indicted for three counts of theft by a United States Postal Service employee and three counts of use of unauthorized credit cards. Petitioner pleaded guilty to count 4 of the indictment in exchange for the Government's agreement to dismiss the remaining counts and to forgo prosecution "for any other offense arising in the Western District of Texas as part of the scheme alleged in the indictment." App. 7. Count 4 charged "[t]hat on or about October 18, 1985, . . . [petitioner]
After the plea hearing but before sentencing, the Government notified petitioner that it would propose that he be ordered to pay restitution of $147,646.89. The Government calculated that figure by adding the losses of several financial institutions, including MBank, that resulted from petitioner's alleged theft and use of approximately 30 credit cards. Petitioner objected to the proposed restitution order on the ground that the proposed figure was unauthorized because it "exceed[ed] the losses of any victims of the offense of which the Defendant was convicted." Id., at 13. The Government then submitted a revised restitution figure of $90,431, the total of MBank's losses relating to petitioner's alleged theft and use of 21 cards from various MBank cardholders. Petitioner countered that the appropriate restitution figure should be $10,412, the losses MBank sustained as a result of all unauthorized uses of the Godfrey credit card identified in the count for which he was convicted.
The District Court ordered petitioner to make restitution to MBank in the amount of $90,431. Id., at 78. Petitioner moved to reduce and correct his sentence under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35, arguing that the District Court had exceeded its authority in ordering restitution for offenses other than the offense of conviction. The District Court denied the motion. Id., at 82-85. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that "VWPA permits a
The courts of appeals have reached varying conclusions regarding a court's ability under VWPA to require an offender to pay restitution for acts other than those underlying the offense of conviction.
As in all cases involving statutory interpretation, we look first to the language of the statute itself. Landreth Timber Co. v. Landreth, 471 U.S. 681, 685 (1985). Title 18 U. S. C. § 3579(a)(1) (1982 ed., Supp. IV) provides that "a defendant
The Government argues, however, that § 3579 answers only the question of who may receive restitution and offers no guidance as to how much restitution a court may order the defendant to pay. In the Government's view, § 3579(a) indicates merely that to receive restitution, a victim must be a victim of the offense of conviction. Once such a victim is identified, the Government maintains, the amount of restitution is calculated in accordance with 18 U. S. C. § 3580(a) (1982 ed.), which provides:
Specifically, the Government contends that the catchall phrase of § 3580(a), which directs courts to consider "such other factors as the court deems appropriate," authorizes courts to include in their restitution calculus losses resulting from offenses other than the offense of conviction.
The Government's reading of §§ 3579 and 3580 is unconvincing. As an initial matter, the detailed substantive guidance regarding the calculation of restitution that is found in subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) makes clear that § 3579
In addition, it would be anomalous to regard § 3580, which delineates "[p]rocedure[s] for issuing order[s] of restitution," rather than § 3579, which governs the court's authority to issue restitution orders, as fixing the substantive boundaries of such orders. The Government's argument ignores this Court's commitment to "giving effect to the meaning and placement of the words chosen by Congress." Adams Fruit Co. v. Barrett, 494 U.S. 638, 645 (1990) (rejecting claim that Congress intended to limit private right of action under Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, 29 U. S. C. § 1801 et seq., in section other than "Enforcement Provisions" section in which Congress established private right of action).
More significantly, § 3580(a)'s catchall phrase does not reflect a congressional intent to include in the restitution calculus losses beyond those caused by the offense of conviction. Section 3580(a) sets forth the considerations for "determining whether to order restitution under section 3579 of this title and the amount of such restitution." The first such consideration is "the amount of loss sustained by any victim as a result of the offense." This language suggests persuasively that Congress intended restitution to be tied to the loss caused by the offense of conviction. Indeed, had Congress intended to permit a victim to recover for losses stemming from all conduct attributable to the defendant, including conduct unrelated to the offense of conviction, Congress would likely have chosen language other than "the offense," which refers without question to the offense of conviction. See supra, at 416.
The remaining considerations preceding the catchall phrase also are designed to limit, rather than to expand, the scope of any order of restitution. These factors — "the financial resources
The Government endeavors to buttress its interpretation of the statute by invoking the expansive declaration of purpose accompanying VWPA, see, e. g., § 2(b)(2), note following 18 U. S. C. § 1512 (one purpose of the Act is "to ensure that the Federal Government does all that is possible within limits of available resources to assist victims . . . without infringing on the constitutional rights of the defendant"), and by referring to portions of the legislative history that reflect Congress' goal of ensuring "that Federal crime victims receive the fullest possible restitution from criminal wrongdoers," 128 Cong. Rec. 27391 (1982) (remarks of Rep. Rodino).
These concerns are not insignificant ones, but neither are they unique to the issue of victim compensation. If a prosecutor chooses to charge fewer than the maximum possible number of crimes, the potential recovery of victims of crime is undoubtedly limited, but so too is the potential sentence that may be imposed on a defendant. And although a plea agreement does operate to limit the acts for which a court may order the defendant to pay restitution, it also ensures that restitution will be ordered as to the count or counts to which the defendant pleads guilty pursuant to the agreement. The essence of a plea agreement is that both the prosecution and the defense make concessions to avoid potential losses. Nothing in the statute suggests that Congress intended to exempt victims of crime from the effects of such a bargaining process.
In any event, we need not resolve the policy questions surrounding VWPA's offense-of-conviction limitation on restitution orders. Even were the statutory language regarding the scope of a court's authority to order restitution ambiguous, longstanding principles of lenity, which demand resolution of ambiguities in criminal statutes in favor of the defendant, Simpson v. United States, 435 U.S. 6, 14-15 (1978) (applying rule of lenity to federal statute that would enhance penalty), preclude our resolution of the ambiguity against petitioner on the basis of general declarations of policy in the statute and legislative history. See Crandon v. United States, 494 U.S. 152, 160 (1990) ("Because construction of a criminal statute must be guided by the need for fair warning, it is rare that legislative history or statutory policies will support a construction of a statute broader than that clearly warranted by the text").
The plain language of VWPA makes clear that the District Court's restitution order in this case was unauthorized. Petitioner pleaded guilty only to the charge that he fraudulently used the credit card of Hershey Godfrey. Because the restitution order encompassed losses stemming from alleged fraudulent uses of cards issued to persons other than Godfrey, such portions of the order are invalid. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
Thomas W. Brunner and Richard H. Gordin filed a brief for the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute et al. as amici curiae.
Additionally, in 1986 Congress amended the language of § 3579(a), replacing "victim of the offense" with "victim of such offense." Criminal Law and Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1986, 100 Stat. 3619. The amendment — making this sole change — became effective on the date of its enactment, ibid., which was after petitioner committed the offense but prior to his sentencing. The parties agree that the change in language was not intended to alter the meaning of the provision. See H. R. Rep. No. 99-334, p. 7 (1985). But they disagree as to which version of the Act governs, because the House Report accompanying the amendment arguably supports petitioner's view that VWPA does not authorize courts to order restitution for losses beyond those caused by the offense of conviction. We agree with the implicit conclusion of the court below that the amended version applies to this case, see 877 F.2d 1256, 1258 (CA5 1989). though we note that our construction of the statute does not turn on the minor change in the language or on the legislative history accompanying the amendment, see n. 5, infra.
"The [restitution] order may require that such defendant —
"(1) in the case of an offense resulting in damage to or loss or destruction of property of a victim of the offense —
"(A) return the property to the owner of the property or someone designated by the owner; or
"(B) if return of the property under subparagraph (A) is impossible, impractical, or inadequate, pay an amount equal to the greater of —
"(i) the value of the property on the date of the damage, loss, or destruction, or
"(ii) the value of the property on the date of sentencing, less the value (as of the date the property is returned) of any part of the property that is returned;
"(2) in the case of an offense resulting in bodily injury to a victim —
"(A) pay an amount equal to the cost of necessary medical and related professional services and devices relating to physical, psychiatric, and psychological care, including nonmedical care and treatment rendered in accordance with a method of healing recognized by the law of the place of treatment;
"(B) pay an amount equal to the cost of necessary physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation; and
"(C) reimburse the victim for income lost by such victim as a result of such offense;
"(3) in the case of an offense resulting in bodily injury [that] also results in the death of a victim, pay an amount equal to the cost of necessary funeral and related services . . . ."