United States Attorney Breon Peace announced today that the Eastern District of New York collected $249,989,681.40 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2021. Of this amount, $196,932,566.03 was collected in criminal actions and $53,057,115.37 was collected in civil actions, and $4,503,424.87 resulted from cases handled in conjunction with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and litigating divisions of the Department of Justice. Additionally, $64,171,429 in assets tainted by crime was forfeited to the government.
“The Eastern District’s robust recoveries in fiscal year 2021 underscore its commitment to recovering funds for the federal treasury, seeking restitution for the victims of crime and forfeiting assets that are tainted by crime,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Our collections and asset recovery programs hold defendants financially accountable for their illegal activities and ensure that their debts, particularly to victims, are paid.”
FY 2021 Collections Highlights
In October 2020, J&F Investimentos SA (J&F), a global conglomerate holding company based in Brazil and primarily involved in the meat and agriculture businesses, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay the United States a criminal fine of $128,248,913. Between approximately 2005 and 2017, J&F, through certain of its employees and agents, paid millions of dollars in bribes to, and for the benefit of, Brazilian government officials to obtain financing from two Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled banks and to obtain approval for a merger from a Brazilian state-owned and state-controlled pension fund. In furtherance of the scheme, J&F used New York-based bank accounts in the name of shell companies to make hundreds of millions of dollars in corrupt payments for the benefit of Brazilian officials.
Also in October 2020, the Office collected $2,817,224.31 from Williamsburg Physical Therapy P.C. to resolve allegations of false claims submitted to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs for physical therapy services provided or supervised by someone other than the licensed physical therapist identified on the claim, including unlicensed aides. The settlement also resolved claims that the defendants wrongfully backdated services after treatment authorizations had expired.
In May 2021, the Office’s largest civil collection of $43,320,000 involved Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd., a Swiss bank with international operations, that admitted to conspiring to launder over $36 million in bribes through the United States to soccer officials with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and other soccer federations. These bribes were in furtherance of a scheme in which sports marketing companies bribed soccer officials in exchange for broadcasting rights to soccer matches.
The Eastern District also forfeited $64,171,429 in assets tainted by crime. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used for a variety of purposes, including to compensate victims of crime. For example, over $42 million in forfeited funds will be remitted to victims in the FIFA corruption case, which is part of the government’s long-running investigation and prosecution of corruption in international soccer.
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 United States 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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.