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Civil Division Affirmative Enforcement

Affirmative Civil Enforcement is the United States Department of Justice’s program by which civil lawsuits are filed by the United States:

  • to recover money lost due to fraud and other misconduct against the United States government;
  • to impose civil penalties for violations of the nation’s environmental, health, safety and economic welfare laws; and
  • to use the federal Anti-Fraud Injunction Act to stop on-going mail, wire, bank or health care fraud and freeze ill-gotten gains derived from those frauds.

Examples of ACE Enforcement Activities

  • Prosecution of contractors who commit fraud against the Department of Defense by providing substandard or counterfeit parts, or who overcharge for the products or services they provide;
  • Prosecution of companies and individuals for civil penalties and for injunctions to correct pollution of our air, waterways and wetlands;
  • Prosecution of health care institutions, providers, professionals, and manufacturers and distributors of health care products who unlawfully benefit from the Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare and other federally funded health care programs through fraudulent activities such as billing for goods or services not rendered, overbilling, inflating cost reports, fraudulent marketing practices, kickbacks, and providing substandard quality of care to patients;
  • Recovery of grants and loans made by federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development from those who misrepresented their qualifications for, or their use of, federal benefits;
  • Prosecution of individuals and organizations that violate antidiscrimination laws through the unlawful denial of equal housing, education and employment opportunities as a result of discrimination on account of race, religion, gender, national origin and disability.

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania ACE program has recovered billions of dollars and effected change in a wide spectrum of industry. Some examples include: over $1.2 billion from two pharmaceutical manufacturers for off-label marketing; over $800 million from three pharmaceutical manufacturers for improper pricing; over $300 million from two Pharmacy Benefit Management companies for improper processing of prescriptions; $9 million in environmental projects and a $1.5 million penalty from a manufacturer for violations of the Clean Water Act; extensive remedial measures regarding manufacturing processes and the payment of over $100,000 penalty for a manufacturer's violations of the Clean Air Act; and $4 million from a defense contractor for overcharging. Our ACE program has also addressed fraud in the telemarketing industry, predatory lending fraud, and quality of care concerns in nursing homes, children’s facilities and personal care homes.

Within our civil division, our ACE program is supported by attorneys, auditors, investigators and specialized concultants.  We pursue these cases primarily under the Civil False Claims Act, which provides the United States with a cause of action against any person who (1) presents or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for money or property against the United States; (2) makes or causes to be made a false statement to get a false claim paid. Liability under the Act is triple the amount of damages suffered by the United States, plus a civil penalty of $5,500 to $11,000 for each violation. The government may also recover the costs of the civil action.

To report fraud and abuse against the Federal government, please contact us at:

Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator
United States Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106-4476
Mary Catherine Frye
(215) 861-8323

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