U.S. Attorney's Office Collects a Third of a Billion Dollars in 2014
U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach announced that the Northern District of Ohio collected a record $356.7 million in Fiscal Year 2014 from criminal and civil actions handled exclusively or substantially by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, more than 20 times the office’s annual budget.
The office’s total overall budget for the fiscal year was about $16.6 million.
Additionally, the office took in about $11.4 million in civil and criminal forfeitures.
“The work of this office and our partners not only recovers hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars – it helps make crime victims whole, it punishes those who lie and cheat to enrich themselves and it hits criminals and scammers where it can hurt the most, right in the wallet,” Dettelbach said. “It is worth noting that the money collected by this office last year was 20 times more than our annual budget.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said: “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. Their diligent efforts are enabling us to achieve justice and recoup losses in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. And it 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.”
The money collected is used to compensate crime victims, is distributed to state and local law enforcement partners who participate in investigations and is returned to federal agencies for losses sustained by their programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and to the general treasury. Among the largest collections this year:
U.S. Bank: U.S. Bank paid $200 million to resolve civil allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly originating and underwriting mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that did not meet applicable requirements. As part of the settlement, U.S. Bank admitted that, from 2006 through 2011, it repeatedly certified for FHA insurance mortgage loans that did not meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development underwriting requirements. U.S. Bank also admitted that its quality control program did not meet FHA requirements, and as a result, it failed to identify deficiencies in many of the loans it had certified for FHA insurance, failed to self-report many deficient loans to HUD, and failed to take corrective action required under the program. U.S. Bank further acknowledged that its conduct caused FHA to insure thousands of loans that were not eligible for insurance and that the FHA suffered substantial losses when it later paid insurance claims on those loans.
United States v. Diebold Inc.: Diebold Inc., the Ohio-based provider of integrated self-service delivery and security systems, including automated teller machines, paid a $25.2 million criminal penalty to resolve allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing government officials in China and Indonesia and falsifying records in Russia in order to obtain and retain contracts to provide ATMs to state-owned and private banks in those countries.
United States, ex. rel. Gale v. Omnicare Inc.: Omnicare Inc., the nation’s largest provider of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services to nursing homes, paid $124 million for allegedly offering improper financial incentives to skilled nursing facilities in return for their continued selection of Omnicare to supply drugs to elderly Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Approximately $116 million of the settlement resolved allegations in a lawsuit brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act that Omnicare submitted false claims by entering into below-cost contracts to supply prescription medication and other pharmaceutical drugs to skilled nursing facilities and their resident patients to induce the facilities to select Omnicare as their pharmacy provider.
Attorney General Holder announced that across the country, the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year 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. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period.
The amount is more than three times the $8 billion collected in FY 2013. The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, many of which were brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected from individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights, tax, 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, Department of Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.
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.
Below is a complete breakdown of collections in the Northern District of Ohio over the past decade:
2013: $23.9 million
2012: $79.7 million
2011: $48.6 million
2010: $42 million
2009: $17.7 million
2008: $36.7 million
2007: $63.5 million
2006: $80 million
2005: $51.4 million
2004: $22.3 million