Daniel F. Van Horn, Chief
The Civil Division represents the United States and its departments and agencies at both the trial and appellate levels in civil actions filed in this jurisdiction. The activities of the Civil Division primarily involve defensive civil actions in the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals. The types of cases handled by the Civil Division include allegations of discrimination; suits under the Federal Tort Claims Act; challenges to agency actions and government procurement under the Administrative Procedure Act; requests for the amendment of records under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act; and the defense of government officials sued in their individual capacities. The Division also brings civil actions to recover money owed the United States Government by those who submit false claims or commit fraud against the government, as well as actions against those who have failed to repay student or veteran loans or other debts to the United States.
Affirmative Civil Enforcement
The Civil Division of this Office has an active and highly successful Affirmative Civil Enforcement ("ACE") program, through which we address fraud, waste and abuse in a wide variety of government activities. Through the ACE program, the United States uses civil statutes to recover money lost due to fraud or other misconduct by government contractors; to stop ongoing fraudulent conduct such as telemarketing schemes; and to impose civil penalties for violations of environmental, health and safety laws. As the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Nation’s Capital, we are in close proximity to the Inspectors General of all major federal agencies, and have developed strong working relationships with them.
Health care fraud is a priority of our ACE effort, and we have successfully pursued cases involving overcharges and other abuses of Medicare and Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP),TRICARE (formerly CHAMPUS), and other federal health programs. Many millions of dollars have been recovered from the perpetrators of schemes such as: physicians billing for services not provided; clinics mischaracterizing services rendered so as to inflate the payment received; and hospitals billing for laboratory tests and other services not medically necessary. In the FEHBP program, we have recovered millions from health maintenance organizations that charged excessive premiums to the United States by failing to provide to the government the discounts accorded their commercial subscribers.
Fraud in the housing programs of the Department of Housing & Urban Development is another priority for our ACE program. In addition to recovering money from building owners and managers who have failed to maintain HUD-assisted property in decent, safe and sanitary condition, we have obtained judicial orders mandating installation of security devices, hiring of security staff, repairs of structural damages, prompt eviction of tenants engaged in criminal activity, and other remedies to eliminate activities that degrade the quality of life in a neighborhood. We aggressively pursue these cases using both federal and District of Columbia statutory authority.
Fraud in government procurement and grant programs is a continuing focus of our ACE effort, and we have secured substantial recoveries from defense and civilian contractors for overcharging in the provision of a variety of goods and services to the government.
Questions about our Affirmative Civil Enforcement program should be directed to:
Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator
United States Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia
555 Fourth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530