CONNECTICUT U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTS
$19 MILLION IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
IN FISCAL YEAR 2011
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office collected more than $19 million as a result of criminal prosecutions, civil lawsuits and asset forfeiture actions during the 2011 fiscal year.
The money collected by the United States Attorney’s Office includes more than $4.8 million collected in criminal actions, more than $9 million collected in civil actions, and more than $5.6 million coming from criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions. The amount collected exceeds by more than $4 million the Office’s annual budget of approximately $15 million.
“I appreciate the dedication of the people in this office, especially the often overlooked work of our Civil Division and Financial Litigation Unit, in protecting the public and recovering funds for victims of federal crime and the federal treasury,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from illegal activities. Our attorneys and staff have managed to not only pay for the entire budget of our office but also to provide even greater sums to victims and to the federal government.”
The Office’s Financial Litigation Unit (“FLU”) litigates debt collection issues and enforces collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States or to victims of federal crime. The FLU enforces collection of civil debts on behalf of federal agencies in litigation that most often involves federal loan programs, civil penalties assessed by federal agencies and civil fraud actions litigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In FY2011, more than $9 million was collected from Connecticut debtors in satisfaction of their federal civil debts. Civil recoveries include False Claims Act recoveries such as health care fraud ($6.7 million), civil penalty and debt collection matters such as environmental violations ($565,000) and other civil debts such as student loans and foreclosures ($800,000).
The largest civil recovery during FY2011 occurred in November 2010 when the office collected approximately $2.7 million from Surgical Monitoring Systems, Inc., doing business as Sentient Medical Systems, (“SMS”), of Hunt Valley, Maryland, and SMS’ former President and CEO, Jeffrey H. Owen, to resolve allegations that SMS and Owen violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing the Medicare program for intraoperative monitoring (“IOM”) services. Also, in June 2011, Dr. Mark W. Izard and his professional corporation paid $2.2 million to resolve allegations that Izard violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for services he supposedly provided to patients in nursing homes when the patients were, in fact, not present in the nursing homes, and also for medical services that were actually provided by nurses and medical residents.
In criminal cases, those who are convicted of federal crimes are often subject to criminal asset forfeiture proceedings, whereby the government seizes property that was involved in or represents the proceeds of criminal behavior. Also, at sentencing, the court often imposes on a defendant a criminal fine and/or orders restitution to victims. In almost every criminal case, a mandatory special assessment is imposed upon each individual or corporate defendant at the time of sentencing, as well. During FY2011, the FLU tracked and enforced payment of more than $4.8 million for special assessments, fines and restitution from federal criminal offenders who were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Included in that total are approximately $2 million in payments from Ionia Management, a Greek company that manages a fleet of tanker vessels. In December 2007, the company was ordered to pay a fine of $4.9 million for falsifying records to conceal the overboard dumping of waste oil from one of its ships.
An additional $5.6 million was recovered through the seizure and forfeiture of assets. Of that amount, $850,000 was provided to local law enforcement under the Equitable Sharing Program.
There are 93 U.S. Attorney Offices located throughout the United States and its Territories. Each U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal restitution owed to federal crime victims. The Department of Justice has reported that financial collections by the entire Department in criminal and civil actions in FY2011 equaled an all-time high for the second consecutive year due to the efforts of U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the nation. The Offices contributed to the collection of $6.5 billion during the government’s fiscal year, which ended on September 30. This amount equals the most successful collection year ever by the U.S. Attorney’s offices.
Statistics from the Department of Justice indicate that the total amount collected in criminal actions in FY2011 totaled $2.66 billion, which came from 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 $3.83 billion was collected by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in 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.
Finally, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices contributed to the collection of $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY2011. Forfeited assets are deposited into either the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut is charged with enforcing federal criminal laws in Connecticut, and with representing the federal government in civil litigation in the District. The District is composed of more than 64 Assistant United States Attorneys, 34 staff members and nine contract employees at offices in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.
For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports through FY 2010 can be found at www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.
More information about the Crime victims Fund can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/about/victimsfund.html.
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