Government and Law

US Attorney's Office collects $8.1M

January 14, 2014
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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan collected $8.1 million in civil and criminal collections and forfeitures during fiscal year 2013.

“Crime does not pay”

U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles in Grand Rapids said Monday that $5,545,164.37 was collected in criminal and civil actions during the time period.

Of the total, $3,193,153.56 was collected as fines, penalties and restitution in criminal actions and $2,352,010.81 was collected in civil actions.

Additionally, working with partner agencies and divisions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan also collected $2,560,915 from civil, criminal and administrative forfeiture actions over the period.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan is actively working to make sure crime does not pay,” Miles said. “We are using all legal tools available to protect the public.”

Comparatively, in 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan collected $8.2 million and $7.5 million was collected in 2011.

Joint collections

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan also worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice on collection efforts.

Of cases pursued jointly with the offices, another $529,531.18 was collected, with $29,531.18 collected in criminal actions and $500,000 collected in civil actions.

Significant collections

Among the more significant recoveries in fiscal year 2013, the regional U.S. Attorney’s Office collected more than $1,000,000 in civil damages and criminal restitution in a parallel civil and criminal health care fraud case against Babubhai Rathod.

Rathod, a disgraced physical therapist, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, voluntarily agreed to a 20-year exclusion from federal health care programs and liquidated his business holdings and certain personal property to pay the civil damages and criminal restitution.

In a separate case, the regional U.S. Attorney’s Office collected $988,366 in criminal restitution from Elaine Dawson, the owner of five cinemas in Bellaire, Petoskey, Gaylord, Mackinaw City and Cheboygan.

Dawson pled guilty to tax evasion. She routinely under reported the number of patrons who bought movie tickets and under reported her receipts from sales of concessions, gift certificates and other items, then skimmed the cash from the unreported sales for personal use.

$8.1B in federal collections

Attorney General Eric Holder also announced this week that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013.

The more than $8 billion in collections represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in the same period.

The U.S. Attorney's offices, along with the Justice 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, where the U.S. 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.

Proceeds generated from civil, criminal and administrative forfeiture actions are deposited in the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund or the Treasury Department’s Treasury Forfeiture Fund.

The funds are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes through the Department of Justice’s equitable-sharing program.

In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan distributed $330,377 to state and local law enforcement agencies through the equitable-sharing program.

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