Steve Butler, Chief
The Civil Division represents the interests of the United States and its agencies in all civil litigation at trial and on appeal. Below is an overview of its main practice areas.
Civil Fraud Enforcement Unit
This Unit civilly prosecutes fraud in a number of areas, among them: public health care programs (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid, federal employee health benefit programs, and Tricare), mortgages, pharmaceuticals, banks, federal procurement, and grants. Its major enforcement tool is the False Claims Act, (31 U.S.C., Section 3729, et seq.). The Unit may also prosecute fraud associated with stimulus and economic recovery-related legislation, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”). The Unit in some cases may bring parallel civil litigation, a circumstance in which an individual or entity is both sued and criminally prosecuted. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (private whistle blowers), the Unit works with federal agencies to investigate and civilly prosecute fraud, waste and/or abuse in Government programs. The Unit’s health care fraud practice includes vigorous enforcement of the laws and regulations governing a wide range of issues such as: billing for medically unnecessary services or services not rendered, the payment of kickbacks to induce referrals or services, false billing, fraudulent patient certifications, improper hospice care revocations or certifications, drug diversion at treatment clinics, durable medical equipment fraud, cost reporting fraud, and research grant fraud.
Asset Recovery & Financial Litigation Unit
This Unit brings civil forfeiture actions and assists the Criminal Division in prosecuting criminal forfeiture claims. These cases include the forfeiture of the proceeds of a wide variety of violations of federal law including securities fraud, economic crime, cybercrime, health care fraud, domestic and international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and public corruption. The Unit utilizes forfeiture laws to locate, seize, and forfeit proceeds from criminal activities. Forfeited assets are deposited respectively into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund. Those funds are then used for restitution to crime victims and for a variety of approved law enforcement purposes.
This Unit also restores financial loses to crime victims through the enforcement of restitution judgments obtained against criminal defendants. It also litigates and enforces the collection of criminal debts owed to the United States, such as judgments, fines and penalties. The Unit seeks recoveries from business entities and individual debtors who have defaulted on loans obtained through many federal programs, such as disaster relief (Hurricane Katrina), student loans, and the Small Business Administration loans. The Unit has recovered over $15.5 million in the past 6 fiscal years (FY 2008 - FY 2013).
Bankruptcy & Tax Unit
The Civil Division represents the United States and its agencies in proceedings before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Civil Division Assistants have handled significant bankruptcy litigation and works closely with the Criminal Division to prosecute
Defensive Litigation Unit
The Civil Division represents the United States in most cases in which the Government has been sued. It defends, among other actions: challenges to agency regulations and regulatory actions; challenges to the constitutionality of federal statutes and regulations; constitutional tort claims brought against federal employees in their individual capacities (so called Bivens actions); employment discrimination cases; social security cases; immigration cases (including decisions by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport or detain aliens); and common law tort cases. It also represents federal agencies in connection with Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA") litigation.
In addition, the Civil Division both brings environmental enforcement actions and defends the Government from challenges to its regulatory authority. It enforces approximately 150 civil and criminal Federal statutes that protect our air, water and natural resources, among which are the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Civil Division Assistants also actively enforce the Superfund statutes, which help clean up hazardous coastal waste sites and recover the cost of the Government’s cleanup. This division also works with Assistants in the Criminal Division to prosecute appropriate cases criminally. Recent environmental actions have recovered 2.5 million dollars in fines and community payments for the unlawful discharge and failure to report the discharge of waste into the environment.