Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office Collects Approximately Four Times Its Operating Budget In Fiscal Year 2012
MINNEAPOLIS—U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones announced today that the District of Minnesota collected more than $53 million in Fiscal Year 2012 from civil and criminal actions, which is about four times the office’s appropriated operating budget for the year. Of the amount collected, $16.9 million resulted from criminal actions, while $36.1 million came from civil actions.
Nationwide, U.S. Attorney offices collected a total of $13.1 billion from criminal and civil actions during Fiscal Year 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected a year ago. This year’s figure represents more than six times the appropriated collective budget of the nation’s U.S. Attorney offices for the same time period.
In making today’s announcement, Jones said, “The primary goal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is to represent the interests of the federal government in court, thereby ensuring the safety and well-being of the citizens of Minnesota. People routinely read about our efforts to prosecute violent criminals or seek civil sanctions against groups that violate federal civil law. However, they seldom hear about the work we do to collect criminal fines and restitution or civil debts and penalties. From pursuing money owed to the Internal Revenue Service as a result of a conviction for failure to pay taxes, to collecting delinquent student loans, several people in the office work tirelessly to claim what is owed the federal government. The work is not glamorous, but it is very important, particularly in these tough economic times.”
Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice indicate that for Fiscal Year 2012, the amount collected by U.S. Attorney offices nationally through criminal action totaled $3.035 billion, derived from criminal fines and special assessments along with restitution. While restitution is paid directly to the crime victim, criminal fines and special assessments are paid into the Justice Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund. That money is then distributed to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
The Justice Department also reported that in Fiscal Year 2012, $10.12 billion was collected by U.S. Attorney offices nationwide through civil actions. The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the U.S. recovered money lost due to fraud or from penalties imposed for violating federal health and safety regulations, civil rights, or environmental laws. Civil debts were also collected by U.S. Attorney offices on behalf of several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the Internal Revenue Service, among others.
One of the largest civil recoveries obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Minnesota during Fiscal Year 2012 came from Medtronic, which paid $23.5 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid by using two post-market studies and two device registries as vehicles to pay participating physicians illegal kickbacks to induce them to implant Medtronic pacemakers and defibrillators.
In another case, Minnesota Transit Constructors (“MnTC”), the prime contractor on the project to design and build the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit System linking Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Mall of America, and the Twin Cities International Airport, agreed to pay the U.S. $4.6 million to resolve allegations that it had knowingly submitted false claims on the federally funded project by reporting it had used Disadvantaged Business Enterprises for part of its work, when that was not the case.