North Alabama U.S. Attorney's Office Collects $7.5 Million In Civil And Criminal Actions For U.S. Taxpayers In Fiscal Year 2014
BIRMINGHAM - U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance announced today that the Northern District of Alabama collected $7.5 million in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2014. Of this amount, the office collected $3.2 million in criminal actions and $4.3 million in civil actions.
Additionally, the Northern District worked with other U.S. Attorney's Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $117.8 million in cases pursued jointly. The $117.8 million was collected in civil actions.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today 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.
"Every day, the Justice Department's federal 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," Holder said. "Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. And this result shows the fruits of the Justice Department's tireless work in enforcing federal laws; in protecting the American people from violent crime, national security threats, discrimination, exploitation, and abuse; and in holding financial institutions accountable for their roles in causing the 2008 financial crisis."
"Seeking justice is the primary objective of the U.S. Attorney's Office," Vance said. "The people in my office pursue that goal every day, working to put criminals behind bars and to ensure that money taken through wrongful action is returned to the federal government and the American taxpayer. In addition, we try to be good stewards of the public trust and the funding our office is given to do our work. The $117.8 million we recovered this past year, working with other districts and the Civil Division, as well as the $7.5 million our office recovered independently, exceeds the budget of this office more than tenfold," she said.
The Northern District of Alabama's two largest independent collections came in false claims settlements with health care providers. The district collected $3.93 million from the parent company of Hospice Compassus as part of an agreement to settle allegations that the company submitted false claims to Medicare for patients treated at its hospice facilities. The district also collected $1.2 million from American Family Care Inc. to settle allegations that it knowingly submitted claims to Medicare for outpatient office visits that it billed at higher than appropriate rates.
The Northern District of Alabama worked with the Justice Department's Civil Division and U.S. Attorney's Offices in north Georgia, eastern Pennsylvania and eastern Kentucky to secure a $150 million payment to the federal government from Amedisys, one of the nation's largest home health providers. Amedisys made the payment as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that some of its offices improperly billed Medicare for ineligible patients and services.
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.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's office in north Alabama, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $2.2 million in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2014. 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.