U. S. Attorney’s Office Collects $27.4 Million in Civil & Criminal Actions, $12.1 Million in Forfeitures in FY 2012
BIRMINGHAM – The Northern District of Alabama collected $27.4 million in Fiscal Year 2012 from criminal and civil actions and an additional $12.1 million in criminal and civil forfeitures, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
Of the $27.4 million, $20.8 million was collected as part of criminal prosecutions and $6.5 million was recovered through civil lawsuits and debt collections.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in FY 2011. A portion of this amount, $5.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys’ offices or department litigating divisions were involved. The $13.1 billion represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2012, which ran from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012.
“The bottom line for criminals should be punishment, not profit,” Vance said. “The people in my office work daily to protect the public and ensure wrongdoers repay money to the Treasury that should benefit the public, not those who fail to abide by the law. This year, my office returned more than twice our annual budget to the taxpayers through these collections,” she said.
The largest criminal debt collected in the Northern District during the fiscal year was $19.4 million from Roland Pugh Construction Inc. The company was a defendant in the Jefferson County Sewer fraud prosecutions and was fined the $19.4 million. It paid the amount in full on Dec. 20, 2011.
The office’s largest civil collection in 2012 was a $5.4 million settlement with Rural/Metro Corp., an ambulance company operating in several states, including Alabama and Kentucky. The collection is shared between the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Alabama and the Western District of Kentucky, which jointly worked the case.
Rural/Metro agreed to pay the $5.4 million in order to settle claims that it had improperly billed Medicare and violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims for payment on ambulance services that were never provided or were medically unnecessary.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S., and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. Statistics indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions totaled $3.04 billion in restitution, criminal fines and felony assessments. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid directly to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
The statistics also indicate that $10.12 billion was collected by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in individually and jointly handled civil actions. The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, and Small Business Administration.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $4.389 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2012. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
The $13.16 billion collected nationwide by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices for FY 2012 nearly matches the $13.18 billion collected in FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined.
For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the Internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html
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