Medical Companies’ Misdeeds Make Up Most of $143 Million Collected by Chicago’s U.S. Attorney – 4 Times Cost of Office
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
CHICAGO U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COLLECTED $142.6 MILLION
IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS IN FISCAL YEAR 2011
CHICAGO — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois collected approximately $142.6 million in fiscal year (FY) 2011, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced today. The collection of more than $129 million in criminal and civil debts, coupled with an additional $13.6 million collected through asset forfeiture, means that the office’s total collections this past fiscal year amounted to more than four times its annual budget of approximately $34.7 million. Over the last four fiscal years combined, the office has collected nearly $693 million on behalf of the United States.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2011, surpassing $6 billion for the second consecutive year. A portion of this amount, $1.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys’ offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $6.5 billion represents more than three times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2011.
“I appreciate the dedication of people in this office, especially the often overlooked work of our Civil Division and our Financial Litigation Unit, to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities. Our attorneys and staff have managed to not only pay for the entire budget of the office but to provide even greater sums to victims and to the government to fund other programs.”
During FY 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Financial Litigation Unit in Chicago collected $16.4 million in criminal actions, including
- more than $1 million in criminal fines;
- ore than $3.4 million in restitution owed to the federal government; and
- more than $11.6 million in non-federal restitution owed to victims, including the victims of various investment frauds and Ponzi schemes.
In civil actions, the office collected $112 million, including more than $108 million from affirmative enforcement actions, with more than $103 million of that amount resulting from health care fraud cases. The office’s Financial Litigation Unit also collected more than $2 million in civil post-judgment recoveries during the fiscal year.
On the civil side, in March 2011, the office collected $85 million from Medline Industries, Inc., of Mundelein, to settle a whistleblower’s claims alleging that Medline made fraudulent payments to hospitals and other medical providers that bought supplies from Medline paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. Medline allegedly improperly labeled the payments as discounts, rebates, gifts and charitable donations to fraudulently induce the purchase of supplies. The whistleblower received $23.375 million as his share of the settlement.
The settlement resolved claims that BlueCross BlueShield wrongly terminated insurance coverage for private duty skilled nursing care for medically fragile, technologically dependent children, in order to shift the costs of such care to the Medicaid program, which funds a special program designed to provide home care for children at risk of being institutionalized.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims.
When defendants are convicted and sentenced in criminal cases, judges must impose restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is authorized to make efforts to collect criminal debts for 20 years after defendants are released from custody.
Statistics from the Justice Department indicate that collections in criminal actions totaled $2.66 billion in restitution, criminal fines, and felony assessments.
While restitution is paid by Courts directly to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Justice Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
In additional to criminal and civil debts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago collected approximately $13.6 million in criminal and civil forfeitures, contributing to the nationwide collection of $1.68 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2011. Forfeited assets are deposited into either the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
The statistics also indicate that $3.83 billion was collected nationwide in civil actions. 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, and Small Business Administration.
The nationwide collection totals for the U.S. Attorneys’ offices for FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined is $13.18 billion, which represents nearly a 52 percent increase over the FY 2008 and FY 2009 combined total of $8.55 billion.
For further information, the United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Reports can be found on the internet at http://www.justice.gov/usao/reading_room/foiamanuals.html.