United States Files Forfeiture Action to Recover Cryptocurrency Traceable to Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
BOSTON – Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts recovered more that $90 million in Fiscal Year 2023, including $42,233,999 in criminal actions and $25,730,882 in civil actions. The Office recovered another $22,451,124 in criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings in Fiscal Year 2023.
Through work that involved other U.S. Attorney’s Offices, components of the Department of Justice and whistleblowers, the District of Massachusetts collected an additional $918,412,292. Of this amount, the Office collected $29,621 in criminal actions and $918,382,671 in civil actions.
“Our Office is committed to restoring funds to victims of crime and depriving criminals of their ill-gotten gains. Our civil and criminal prosecutors work in close coordination from the outset of an investigation to identify, trace and seize assets to accomplish those important goals. In addition, we have a long history of success in recovering taxpayer dollars in False Claims Act cases. These cases protect the public and root out fraud against the United States in health care, government contracting, grants and other government expenditures. We will continue to make these important collection efforts a very high priority,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Levy.
In Fiscal Year 2023, the Asset Recovery Unit was responsible for the collection of over $41 million in restitution for crime victims. The Unit also recovered nearly $1 million in criminal fines and special assessments, as well as forfeiture of over $22 million in criminal proceeds or other property involved in crimes.
In addition to monetary recoveries, the Asset Recovery Unit: led the effort to return a stolen manuscript from 1527 signed by Hernando Cortez to the Mexican National Archives; returned stolen marksmanship medals to the Springfield Armory; and filed five civil complaints to forfeit cryptocurrency traceable to fraud schemes involving Massachusetts victims. The Asset Recovery Unit locates, seizes and forfeits proceeds of crime, including health care fraud, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud and drug trafficking, as well as money and property involved in money laundering. The Unit pursues forfeiture of ill-gotten gains both domestically and abroad and works closely with units across the Office and its law enforcement partners to ensure that crime doesn’t pay, and that assets are returned to victims.
The Office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit recovers government money lost to fraud or other offenses. In Fiscal Year 2023, the Unit entered into settlements with defendants totaling approximately $30 million. Among these recoveries, in January 2023, Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Synthes, Inc. and DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. agreed to pay $9.75 million to resolve Anti-Kickback Statute violations; in June 2023, Injured Workers Pharmacy agreed to pay $10 million to resolve allegations of improper drug dispensing and submitting false claims; and in May 2023 Massachusetts Eye and Ear paid over $5.7 million to resolve false claims allegations. Also in 2023, the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit filed suit against Bournewood Health Systems and First Psychiatric Planners for allegedly paying kickbacks to induce patients to choose Bournewood and FPP over other treatment facilities.
The Office’s Civil Rights Unit in the Civil Division also recovered $425,000 for victims of sexual harassment in housing.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Justice 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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.