U.S. Attorney’s Office Collects More Than $36 Million Dollars In Civil And Criminal Actions In Fiscal Year 2022
BUFFALO, NY - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that the Western District of New York collected $36,265,598.00 in criminal, civil and forfeiture actions in Fiscal Year 2022. Of this amount, $7,484,121.00 was collected in criminal actions and $28,781,477.00 was collected in civil actions. As a result, over $7,000,000 was given to victims of crime in the past year, while $964,621.00 was provided as aid to state and local law enforcement agency partners who worked hand in hand with the office on criminal cases.
Additionally, the Western District of New York worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $10,527,064.89 in cases pursued jointly by these offices.
I making the announcement, U.S. Attorney Ross specifically credited the work done by the Asset Recovery Division, under the leadership of Chief Kevin D. Robinson and Deputy Chief Grace Carducci. “This Office is focused on combating all crime, in particular those crimes involving violence, racism and bigotry, use of firearms, exploitation of women and children, and fraud,” stated U.S. Attorney Ross. “At the same time, we are focused on making sure that justice is fair and even handed. Everyone deserves to live and work in an environment that is safe, and your rights guaranteed under the law are afforded to you. In addition to combating crime, we seek to deprive criminals of those proceeds generated through their illegal activity, and to collect on behave of the victims of crime. Our goal is to make all victims of crime whole.”
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 collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
In addition to recovering funds, more than 50 dangerous firearms and 1,800 rounds of ammunition were forfeited in FY 2021 as instrumentalities of criminal conduct in drug and violent gang cases. Forty Computers and electronic media devices—most related to child exploitation cases—were also forfeited.
The following cases are examples of successful forfeiture and affirmative civil enforcement cases concluded this past year in the Western District of New York:
- In April 2022, the district recovered $ $16.27 million as part of a civil forfeiture settlement in the United States v. 7405 Morgan Road, et al. case.
- In March 2022, the district recovered approximately $3.3 million as part of a criminal forfeiture settlement and $102,952.77 in court ordered restitution in the United States v. Christopher Parris case. Christopher Parris solicited and caused others to solicit various medical supply companies and governmental entities for orders of scarce PPE. Parris knowingly misrepresented his access to, and ability to obtain and deliver on time, vast quantities PPE.
- In December 2022, the district recovered approximately $277,500 in criminal forfeiture as a result of a jury trial in the United States v. Michael Rech case. Michael Rech submitted a fraudulent PPP loan application and received funds that he was not otherwise entitled to receive.
- In June 2022, the district recovered $600,000 from James A. Sakr, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat doctor based in Dansville, NY, to resolve allegations that Dr. Sakr fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for procedures that were not medically necessary or that he did not perform.
- In August 2022, the district entered into a settlement for $950,000 with Elderwood, a Buffalo-based senior care company, to resolve allegations that Elderwood submitted false claims for payment from Medicare and Medicaid. Between August 1, 2013, and December 31, 2018, Elderwood submitted, or caused to be submitted, claims for payment to Medicare for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services that it knew were medically unnecessary. The submission of these medically unnecessary claims also resulted in Elderwood receiving artificially inflated payments from Medicaid.
- In February 2022, the district recovered $970,000 from Nightingale Corporation to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act. Nightingale is a manufacturer of office seating and furniture, which sells its products to various federal government agencies. In December 2019, Nightingale was awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) contract to supply office chairs to various federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. The contract required that Nightingale produce the chairs in the United States. The Government alleged that during the bidding process, Nightingale falsely represented to the GSA that it would produce the chairs at its Tonawanda, NY, location. Based on that representation, Nightingale was awarded the contract. However, between February 2020 and April 2021, Nightingale did not produce the chairs in Tonawanda or elsewhere in the United States, but rather the chairs were produced in Canada.