U.S. Attorney’s Office Helps Collects Over $182 Million – More Than 20 Times its Annual Budget
LEXINGTON, KY - Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with assistance from its partnering agencies, recovered $182,247,824.53 from civil and criminal actions for Fiscal Year 2014.
The Office, which operates on an annual budget of less than $10 million, ranks near the top 10 percent of all U.S. Attorney Offices (94 offices nationwide) in total collections. The Office collected the money during the fiscal year that started October 1, 2013 and ended September 30, 2014. The Eastern District of Kentucky consists of 67 counties stretching from Southern Kentucky up to the Ohio border.
“Our office achieved unprecedented success in recovering funds for the taxpayers during the last fiscal year. This is not by accident; we have focused intensely on collecting money owed to the Government as a result of criminal activity or obtained from the federal treasury by fraudulent means”, said U.S. Attorney Harvey. “This is vital work in this age of limited resources and we take pride in recovering funds for the public treasury that far exceeds the entire annual budget for this office. I commend the dedicated public servants in our office as well as our agency partners for their remarkable success on behalf of the American taxpayer.”
Approximately $76 million was collected in False Claims Act (FCA) cases and related matters. These cases often involve the submission of fraudulent claims by healthcare providers to federal healthcare programs such as Medicare. Specifically, in May, King’s Daughters Medical Center agreed to pay $40.9 million to settle civil allegations related to unnecessary cardiac procedures. In January, St. Joseph’s Hospital agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle similar FCA allegations. The $76 million is the largest amount collected in FCA cases in the Office’s 114 year history.
“We elevated the priority of FCA cases in our office about four years ago and implemented that decision by devoting significantly more resources to this important area,” said Harvey. “The result vindicates that decision and is a credit to our staff who work these complex cases. Our efforts not only protect the federal treasury, but promote appropriate medical care based on the best interests of the patients as well.”
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014. The more than $24 billion in collections in FY 2014 represents nearly eight and a half times the appropriated $2.91 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
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. 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.
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, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.