Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office Collected More Than $16.7 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions; Forfeited More Than $22 Million In Assets In Fiscal Year 2013
MINNEAPOLIS—Acting United States Attorney John R. Marti announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota collected $16,782,266.24 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2013. Of this amount, $8,237,258.34 was collected in criminal actions and $8,545,007.90 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $22,127,398 in asset forfeiture actions in Fiscal Year 2013. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice and Treasury Assets Forfeiture Funds, and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
Additionally, Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $458,000 in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices. Nationwide, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices collected $8.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during Fiscal Year 2013. A portion of this amount, $5.9 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorney’s Offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $8.1 billion represents nearly three times the approximately $2.76 billion of the department’s direct appropriations that pay for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and its main litigating divisions., and it is the second-largest collection year in the department’s history, trailing only Fiscal Year 2012 when $13.1 billion was collected.
“The department’s enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the taxpayer,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”
In making today’s announcement, Marti said, “The public dialogue is often focused on the cost of government. But one fact often ignored is that attorneys and staff of this office and the Department of Justice regularly recoup funds owed to the government and crime victims in amounts that far exceed our annual budgets. These recoveries come from many sources and are essential and valuable in these challenging economic times.”
One of the largest civil recoveries obtained by Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney’s Office during Fiscal Year 2013 came from MTS Systems Corporation. In 2008, MTS pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of knowingly submitting false or misleading export control filings to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Notwithstanding its plea agreement, MTS certified several times during the next three years that it had not been convicted of various criminal violations, including “falsification of records” and “making false statements,” within the preceding three years. MTS allegedly used those false certifications to win millions of dollars in government contracts. The Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office commenced suit against MTS under the False Claims Act, and to resolve the civil case, MTS paid $7.75 million.
A second civil recovery in Minnesota stemmed from a case against Bioscrip, a national specialty pharmacy services provider with a large mail-order component. The lawsuit commenced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office contended that Bioscrip failed to refund credit balances, failed to maintain prescriptions on file, and billed for products not provided. Bioscrip paid $5.06 million to settle the civil case.
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 U.S. 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, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.