U.S. Attorney’s Office For The District Of Columbia Secures Over $180 Million In Financial Recoveries In Fiscal 2014Office Has Collected Nearly $2.3 Billion Over Past Five Fiscal Years
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia collected nearly $180 million in criminal and civil actions and asset forfeitures during the most recent fiscal year, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today.
All told, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has collected nearly $2.3 billion in criminal and civil actions and asset forfeitures over the past five fiscal years.
The totals for Fiscal Year 2014 include over $160.9 million collected in criminal actions and over $11.9 million in civil actions. Another $7.7 million was collected in criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect another $1.4 million in civil actions cases pursued jointly with these offices.
“The $2.3 billion that we have recovered in recent years is a measure of our commitment to taxpayers and victims of crime,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We have restored dollars robbed from the U.S. Treasury by corrupt public officials and shady government contractors, and have deprived drug traffickers and fraudsters of their ill-gotten gains. We will continue to use the full range of legal tools at our disposal to protect the taxpayer and do justice.”
Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billionnationwidein civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014. The collections in FY 2014 represent nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period.
“Every day, the Justice Department’s prosecutors and trial attorneys work hard to protect our citizens, to safeguard precious taxpayer resources, and to provide a valuable return on investment to the American people,” said Attorney General Holder. “Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy.”
Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices nationwide, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected over $4.5 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2014.
The U.S. Attorneys offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting criminal and civil debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. In the District of Columbia, the Financial Litigation Unit in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office aggressively handles these responsibilities. 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 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.
Collections in Civil Actions
The collections in civil actions by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia included more than $1.3 million generated by a settlement with Deloitte Consulting LLP, together with its predecessors and successors. This matter involved billing the government for certain personnel in labor categories for which they did not qualify on work orders under a contract with the Department of Justice. Deloitte management responsible for these tasks orders learned of these inappropriate labor categorizations in May 2012. Nonetheless, Deloitte continued to bill certain personnel at inappropriate labor categories and rates until October 2012.
The amount also included $4.2 million, plus interest, paid by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), to resolve allegations that it filed false claims in connection with using federal funds to impermissibly award a contract for a financial management information technology project without using competitive procurement procedures.
In another case, Alliance Rehabilitation LLC, a Maryland limited liability company with an administrative office in Hanover, Maryland and a billing office in Fairfax, Virginia, paid the United States $2.4 million as part of a settlement of allegations that the firm’s billings to Medicare and the TRICARE health care program violated the False Claims Act. The company operates physical therapy clinics in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Collections in Criminal Actions
The collections in criminal actions by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia included $886,000 paid by a former senior policy advisor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who pled guilty to carrying out a scheme in which he kept collecting pay and benefits even though he was not at work. John C. Beale pled guilty in September 2013 to theft of government property. Between January 2000 and April 2013, Beale was absent for about 2 ½ years. Among other things, he falsely claimed that he needed to be away while working on a project for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Beale also paid the government another $507,000 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgment in the same case.
Collections in Forfeiture Cases
Since taking office in February 2010, U.S. Attorney Machen has emphasized the importance of asset forfeiture to fight crime and criminal organizations and to seek justice for victims. Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool that can deprive criminals and criminal organizations of illegal proceeds and instrumentalities of crimes, recover property that may be used to compensate victims, and deter crime. Federal law provides authority to seize and forfeit the proceeds of virtually all serious federal offenses. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Asset Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
In addition to the $507,000 judgment involving Beale, other significant collections generated by the Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit in Fiscal 2014 included over $1.8 million from the sale of forfeited real property of Kerry F. Khan, a former program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Khan is serving a prison sentence of 19 years and seven months following his guilty plea in an investigation of a ring of corrupt public officials and government contractors that engaged in bribery, kickbacks and other crimes. Participants in the scheme stole over $30 million through inflated and fictitious invoices.
The total also includes over $2.2 million in real property and funds seized from Min Jung Cho, the former president of Nova Datacom, LLC, a company involved in the scheme. She also pled guilty in the investigation involving Kerry Khan and others and is awaiting sentencing.
In addition, in a national security case, the government forfeited aviation equipment, valued at more than $90,000. This equipment was being procured by front companies on behalf of entities in Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions. The front companies would launder money into the country in an attempt to conceal the true beneficiaries of the transactions. The forfeiture action led to a recovery of the equipment, and ultimately the sale of the equipment for the benefit of the United States.
Finally, in another case, the government collected $388,613 in forfeiture from Gezo G. Edwards, formerly of Silver Spring, Md., who was found guilty by a jury of conspiring to distribute large amounts of cocaine in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Edwards was sentenced in February 2014 to a life prison term. The money was seized as proceeds of the drug conspiracy.14-267