Overview of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Division
Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) is a priority of the Department of Justice. In a memorandum issued in February 1995, the United States Attorney General listed ACE as a "best practice," strongly recommending that United States Attorney's offices dedicate resources to ACE.
ACE IS . . .
Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) is the United States Department of Justice's program by which civil actions 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 health, safety and economic welfare laws; and, to use the federal Fraud Injunction Statute to enjoin on-going mail, wire or bank frauds and freeze ill-gotten gains derived from those frauds.
Since 1992, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) has funded 152 ACE positions in 79 United States Attorney offices around the country. We have found that ACE is critical to effective law enforcement. In 1996 additional funds were allocated to combat health care fraud by the Kennedy-Kassenbaum bill. These monies are being used to hire investigators, auditors, and attorneys.
ACE programs throughout the nation have recovered millions of dollars. Some examples include: $30.5 million recovered from a company for defrauding Medicare through false statements to Medicare about heart catheters; $82 million from a defense contractor for overcharging for computer services to support government contracts; $75 million from a defense contractor for mischarging; and, almost $10 million from two districts in three cases of fraud against the GSA, where the companies failed to disclose complete information on their cost and pricing structures.
ACE in the District of South Carolina
The District of South Carolina began an ACE team in August of 1996. This district is very interested in pursuing the ACE aspect of any case in which there has been a false or fraudulent claim or fraudulent statement made to the United States. We intend to pursue these cases 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 or approved; (3) or conspires to defraud the government by getting a false claim paid. Liability under the Act is triple the amount of actual damages suffered by the United States, plus a "civil penalty" of $5,000 to $10,000 for each violation. The government may also recover the costs of the civil action.
We presently have no dollar threshold for taking civil fraud cases. The phone number for our toll free hotline is 1-800-774-2381. You may call this number to report any fraud against the Federal Government. You can remain anonymous or leave your name and phone number.