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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

The District of South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects $65,905,918.40 in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2016

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina --- Acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake announced today that the District of South Carolina collected $65,905,918.40 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2016.  Of this amount, $7,112,893.48 was collected in criminal actions and $58,793,024.92 as collected in civil actions.

Additionally, the District of South Carolina worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $78,957,002.59 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $200.00 was collected in criminal actions and $78,956.802.59 was collected in civil actions.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on December 14, 2016 that the Justice Department collected nearly $15.4 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016.  The $15,380,130,434 in collections in FY 2016 represents more than five times the appropriated $2.93 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions of the Justice Department combined in that same period.

“Every day, the men and women of the Department of Justice work tirelessly to enforce our laws, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used properly and that the American people are protected from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “Today’s announcement is a testament to that work, and it makes clear that our actions deliver a significant return on public investment.  I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this year’s collections possible, and I want to emphasize that the department remains committed to the well-being of our people and our nation.”

“This office has made a substantial commitment to combating fraud,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake. "The District of South Carolina US Attorney's Office has devoted six (6) lawyers supported by a terrific team of investigators and paralegals to pursue fraud against government agencies. As the Attorney General has noted, year in and year out, our ACE Unit diligently pursues unscrupulous individuals who seek to line their pockets with tax dollars at the expense of programs destined to support and protect the people of the United States. Whether the targeted funds are designed for Medicare, disaster relief, or a military contract, we give this work the top priority it deserves."

This past March, the District of South Carolina, in cooperation with the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the HHS Office of Counsel to the Inspector General and Office of Investigations,  and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units entered a settlement with Respironics Inc., based in Murrysville, Pennsylvania for $34.8 million to resolve alleged False Claims Act violations for paying kickbacks in the form of free call center services to durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers that bought its masks for patients with sleep apnea.

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 South Carolina, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $2,235,503 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2016.  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.

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Updated December 15, 2016