News and Press Releases

fiscal year 2011

U.S. Attorney's Office collects $24 million in civil and crimial actions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that financial collections totaled nearly $24 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.

Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2011, surpassing $6 billion for the second consecutive year. A portion of this amount, $1.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys’ offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $6.5 billion represents more than three times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2011.

“Criminal and civil collections increased significantly, from about $15 million last year to nearly $24 million in 2011, thanks to the diligent work of our staff and law enforcement partners,” Phillips said. “Much of this increase is due to our ongoing commitment to recover funds that are owed to the government through civil enforcement.

“We are also determined to hold criminals accountable who seek to profit from their illegal activities by seizing their assets and confiscating their illicit gain,” Phillips said. “Our collection efforts help to ensure justice for the victims of crime and for the citizens of our district.”

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, of the $23,929,222 collected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, $2,096,318 was collected in criminal actions and $21,832,904 was collected in civil actions. Included in that amount, more than $1.8 million was also collected in restitution for victims of federal crimes in the Western District of Missouri.

• Among the civil actions that resulted in significant collections, Ohio-based pharmaceutical distributor Cardinal Health, Inc. paid $8 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by making payments to a local pharmacy owner to induce referral orders for its prescription drugs, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

• In another civil case, Fastenal Company, a national hardware store distributor in Minnesota, paid a $6.25 million settlement following an investigation of alleged false claims in connection with a General Services Administration (GSA) contract to sell hardware products to the government.

Additionally, the office collected $4,243,750 that was forfeited to the government by defendants in criminal and civil cases.

• For example, $1,570,624 has been collected in a case in which Springfield, Mo., business owner Charles Thao and his associate in Michigan, Tony T. Pham, were convicted of a conspiracy to fraudulently market dietary supplements over the Internet with illegal claims that these supplements could prevent, treat or cure a number of diseases.

• In another case, $855,755 was collected in a case involving 20 co-defendants in one of the largest cocaine trafficking rings in the Kansas City area. Operation Blockbuster dismantled a local drug-trafficking organization that smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine worth millions of dollars from Mexico to distribute in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the 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 $2.66 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 $3.83 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 $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2011. 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 a variety of law enforcement purposes.

The nationwide collection totals for the U.S. Attorneys’ offices for FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined is $13.18 billion, which represents nearly a 52 percent increase over the FY 2008 and FY 2009 combined total of $8.55 billion.

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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