U. S. Attorney's Office Collects Almost $500 Million In Fiscal Year 2012
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan collected almost $500 million dollars in fiscal year 2012, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
Collections totaled $492,237,355 for the year ending September 30, 2012. Of this amount, $415,605,272 was collected in criminal actions and $65,640,905 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the district collected $11,076,048 in criminal and civil forfeitures.
Seven corporate criminal defendants paid a total of $409 million in fines imposed as a result of prosecutions by the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division in this District for illegal price fixing in the automotive industry. The remaining money recovered as a result of criminal prosecutions, $6 million, was either paid out to individual victims of crime or was deposited into the Crime Victims' Fund, which is distributed to groups that perform work on behalf of crime victims. This amount is slightly higher than in past years and is a result of continued efforts to recover funds for victims.
One of the larger civil cases resolved last year by the Detroit U.S. Attorney's Office involved allegations that Amersham Health, Inc., a company later acquired by GE Healthcare, Inc., fraudulently mispriced a radiopharmaceutical injected into patients during cardiac imaging studies. Because the pricing formula ultimately resulted in improper billings to Medicare, the U.S. Attorney's Office, along with one of the litigating divisions of the Department of Justice, pursued an action to recover the amounts that were paid by the federal healthcare program. Settlement was reached in late 2011 in the amount of $30 million.
Of the amount collected in civil actions, $1.9 million resulted from the efforts of four private law firms, which are responsible for litigating and collecting on defaulted loans owed primarily to the U.S. Department of Education. Two large civil recoveries – one from Walgreen's and the other one from GE Healthcare described above – were handled primarily by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, but included recoveries for damages suffered in other districts. The remaining civil recoveries resulted from actions brought in the Eastern District of Michigan to recover funds owed to federal agencies from fraudulent claims or defaulted loans.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys' offices collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during fiscal year 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in 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 of Justice litigating divisions were also involved. The $13.1 billion represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices for 2012. The budget for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan is approximately $24 million.
"During this time of economic recovery, collections efforts on behalf of taxpayers are more important than ever," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. "The U.S. Attorney's Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities."
The U.S. Attorneys' Offices, along with the Department of Justice'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. Department of Justice records for 2012 show that the amount collected in criminal actions totaled $3.035 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 of Justice's Crime Victims' Fund.
The Department's statistics also show 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 fiscal year 2012. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for specific law enforcement purposes.
The $13.16 billion collected nationwide by the U.S. Attorneys' offices for fiscal year 2012 nearly matches the $13.18 billion collected in fiscal years 2010 and 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.