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Press Release

R.I. U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects More Than $6 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2015

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE - U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island collected $6,130,353.07 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015.  Of this amount, $2,626,122.75 was collected in criminal actions and $3,504,230.32 was collected in civil actions

Additionally, Rhode Island worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $16,878,661.95 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount $16,878,401.95 was collected in civil actions.    

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015.  The more than $23.1 billion in collections in FY 2015 represents more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.  

“The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”

United States Attorney Peter Neronha commented, “The mission of this Office is broad in scope, and includes a commitment to protect the public’s financial and other resources.  Public or private, those who harm the environment, engage in financial fraud, or take financial advantage of victims or the public generally, will continue to receive the full attention of both this Office’s Civil and Criminal Divisions, as will those who pose a threat to national security, who violate the public trust, who commit crimes of violence, or who engage in sex trafficking, particularly of minors.”

In 2015, collections included $2,605,661 from American Access Care in settlement to resolve allegations of violations of the False Claims Act; $8,000,000 collected in cooperation with the Eastern District of Wisconsin from PharMerica Corporation in settlement of allegations of violations on the Controlled Substances Act; collection of $450,000 from CVS Health in settlement for allegations of violations of the Controlled Substances Act;  and, $127,500 from Wal-Mart, Inc. in settlement of False Claims Act violations for claims submitted to Medicaid.

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 or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and Health and Human Services.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $8,261,533 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2015.  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.

In the District of Rhode Island, the Financial Litigation Unit, working closely with the Asset Forfeiture Unit, collected a total of $2,389,896.28 through its Asset Forfeiture Restoration Program.  Included in the above amount is $2,339,210.22 that the District collected from Rocco DeSimone, a former Rhode Island art dealer convicted of defrauding investors.  DeSimone was sentenced to 16 years in prison in July 2011, on eight counts of money laundering and mail fraud.  The assets that were either sold or returned directly to victims include a 2006 Ford GT sports car which sold at auction for $189,000, a painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir known as "Paysage a Cagnes," which sold at auction for $551,500, and an assortment of Japanese swords.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

 

Updated December 3, 2015

Topic
Office and Personnel Updates
Press Release Number: 15-109