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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

United States Attorney’s Office Recovers $20,000,000 In Fiscal Year 2014 – With A Record Amount Distributed To Victims

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns  
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:               (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that the Western District of New York Office recovered in Fiscal Year 2014, $20,456,183.00 as a result of wide-ranging efforts in criminal, civil and asset forfeiture cases. Of that, a record amount, $14,541,000.00, was returned to victims of crime. This money was also used as aid to law enforcement agencies, and in largest part, provided to taxpayers as a result of being transmitted to the United States Treasury.

In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney Hochul praised the hard work and dedication of Office attorneys and support staff that sought not only to put convicted defendants in jail, but took the profit out of crime in a more literal sense. “In addition to removing criminals from the streets of our community, another key mission of our Office is to return the profits of crime to those who have been victimized,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As a result of the efforts of prosecutors in both our criminal and civil divisions, over $14,500,000 has been returned to victims of crime.” 

As for how the recoveries came about, the Office collected $20,456,183.00 in criminal and civil actions. Criminal actions include fines and restitution totaling $5,581,041.00. The Office also collected $3,273,141 in civil actions, which include proceedings involving health care fraud, government fraud, foreclosures and more.            

In addition, the Office collected $11,602,748.00 in criminal and civil forfeitures.  Forfeitures generally involve proceeds of crime, as well as property used to commit crime. Of that amount, $2,286,615 was shared with state and local law enforcement partners who work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Over the last five years, the amount of money recovered by the WDNY Office exceeds $234,000,000. This is a result of the Office recovering in Fiscal Year 2010, $31,800,000, in 2011, $29,300,000, in 2012, $53,600,000, and in 2013, $94,220,047.00

The WDNY also forfeited 115 dangerous firearms, along with ammunition, and 33 computers used in child exploitation and fraud crimes in Fiscal Year 2014.

In addition to the $20,456,183.00 collected locally, the WDNY worked with five other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $120,382,112.00.

The following cases are examples of successful forfeiture and affirmative civil enforcement concluded this past year in the Western District of New York:

United States v. Mangione:

Vincent Mangione was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud. The defendant was ordered to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $840,196.00 and agreed to turn over $125,000 in cash and real property which consisted of a four-unit apartment building and a vacant piece of land. The real property was recently sold and netted an additional $284,248.27 for victims. This brought the total amount of restitution collected on behalf of victims to $409,248.27.

OPERATION HOUND DOG: 

Defendant Ronald Walker was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine and one kilogram or more of heroin, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Walker forfeited $2,500,000 in drug proceeds, including approximately $1,500,000 in U.S. currency, two real properties, various items of jewelry and a motor vehicle.

TONAWANDA COKE: 

The Tonawanda Coke Corporation, which was convicted of 11 counts of violating the Clean Air Act and three counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by a federal jury in March 2013, was sentenced to pay a $12,500,000 fine. The Corporation was also ordered to pay $12,200,000 to fund two environmental studies to help determine the extent of health and environmental impacts Tonawanda Coke has had in the community.

AMEDIYSIS:

Between 2008 and 2010, certain Amedisys offices were accused of improperly billing Medicare for ineligible patients and services. Amedisys allegedly billed Medicare for nursing and therapy services that were medically unnecessary or provided to patients who were not homebound, and otherwise misrepresented patients conditions to increase its Medicare payments. These billing violations were the alleged result of management pressure on nurses and therapists to provide care based on the financial benefits to Amedisys, rather than the needs of patients.  An investigation was conducted by the Justice Department’s Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division; multiple United States Attorney’s Offices, including WDNY; the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the Department of Defense; and the Railroad Retirement Board’s Office of Inspector General. As a result of these combined efforts, Amedisys paid a $116,000,000 settlement.

For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/resources/annual-statistical-reports

Updated April 3, 2015