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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 3, 2015

The District of South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects $7,089,479.89 in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2015 and another $41,807,765 in civil matters worked with other Justice Department Components

Contact Person: Bill Nettles (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina- U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles announced today that the District of South Carolina collected $7,089,479.89  in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015.  Of this amount, $4,436,041.94 was collected in criminal actions and $2,653,437.95 was 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 $41,807,765.09 in cases pursued jointly with these offices.  This entire amount was collected in civil actions.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on December 3, 2015 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 of the 94 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 Bill Nettles said, “Our office has made a substantial commitment to combatting fraud and collecting funds improperly procured. Our commitment, including 10 full time lawyers and investigators, has made this district one of the leaders in combatting government fraud.  We hope that businesses and individuals who commit fraud recognize that the consequences of fraud are more than just the cost of doing business.” 

An example of one of these cases, is a prime contractor at the Savannah River Site who paid the government $3.8 million to settle claims that it overcharged taxpayers for a project on the nuclear weapons complex near Aiken, South Carolina.  The government contended Parsons Government Services committed a number of False Claims Act violations in its administration of per diem and relocation costs at the Savanah River Site.  The allegations included knowingly allowing employees that were going to be relocated to collect per diem rather than relocate them immediately.  This practice greatly increased the cost of per diem to the Government and the settlement will hopefully serve as a deterrent to other Department of Energy contractors.

A few weeks ago, the District of South Carolina recovered another $2,000,000 in the settlement of a whistleblower case brought against HCA, a large hospital chain.  The whistleblower and United States contended that four hospitals, all located in Florida, submitted claims for lab tests that were not ordered and/or not medically necessary and also billed for fetal biophysical profiles with non-stress tests and also billed for standalone non-stress tests thereby double billing the non-stress tests.

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 the District of South Carolina, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $24,776,354.00 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.

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Updated February 4, 2016