News

Maryland U. S. Attorney’s Office Recovered over $60 Million Owed to the Government and $12 Million in Forfeited Assets in Fy2010


Record Amount of Money Recovered in 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that financial collections in civil and criminal cases handled by the United States Attorney’s Office in Maryland reached more than $60 million in 2010, an all-time high. The U.S. Department of Justice keeps statistics on a fiscal year basis, closing the books each September 30.

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein explained, “People normally associate the U.S. Attorney’s Office with criminal prosecutions that send people to jail, but we also pursue financial penalties and file civil lawsuits to collect money owed to the government. Affirmative civil lawsuits against health care providers and contractors that made false claims against the government result in substantial recoveries for the taxpayers. In fact, financial recoveries by the U.S. Attorney’s Office exceed the office’s entire budget in many years.”

According to 2010 statistics from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland collected $52.7 million in civil actions and $7.6 million in criminal debts owed to the U.S. government and federal crime victims.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. Amounts collected from particular defendants as restitution are paid directly to the specific victims of their crimes. Criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Justice Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds for use by victim compensation and victim assistance programs run by state authorities.

The statistics also show that of the $52.7 million collected in civil actions in Maryland, almost $50 million was 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, $2.9 million in civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, and Small Business Administration.

In criminal litigation, of the total $7.6 million collected, $1.2 million was for criminal fines, $3.8 million for restitution to federal agencies, and $2.6 million for restitution to victims other than the federal government.

The 2010 collection totals represent a 29% increase in criminal collections and 446% increase in civil collections over 2009. In 2009, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office collected $15.6 million. Of that amount, $5.9 million was collected in criminal matters and $9.6 million was collected in civil matters. The significant increase in civil collections resulted from several large affirmative civil enforcement cases, including large health care fraud cases.

Details about affirmative civil enforcement program, including summaries of cases, are available on the internet at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Affirmative-Civil-Enforcement/index.html.

In addition to the $60 million in debts collected, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland recovered $12.6 million through asset forfeiture actions in 2010. 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 District of Maryland collected $650,000 in administrative forfeitures of which $255,000 was processed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (with the remainder being handled by other federal agencies); $7.5 million in civil forfeitures; and $4.5 million in criminal forfeitures. Of the total collected, $2.4 million was given back to 29 agencies that participated in cases resulting in forfeitures, as part of the Equitable Sharing program. The office also secured judgments for $45.6 million.

For more information, the Justice Department’s Annual Statistical Reports are available on the internet at www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.

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