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Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's Office tripled its collections in 2012 fiscal year

Day Staff

Publication: theday.com

Published December 07. 2012 1:00PM   Updated December 07. 2012 8:24PM

David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced Friday that his office collected approximately $60 million as a result of criminal prosecutions, civil lawsuits and asset forfeiture actions during the 2012 fiscal year.

The office collected approximately $9.5 million in criminal actions, $42.2 million in civil actions, and more than $8.25 million from criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions, according to Fein. The amount collected is three times the office’s annual budget of approximately $20 million.

“I appreciate the dedication of the people in this office and, notably, the work of our Civil Division and Financial Litigation Unit, in protecting the public and recovering this substantial amount of money,” Fein stated in a press release. “Our attorneys and staff have managed to collect three times the entire budget of our office, funds that provide restitution and services to victims and pay for ongoing federal, state and local law enforcement efforts. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from illegal activities.”

The office’s Financial Litigation Unit litigates debt collection issues and enforces collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States or to victims of federal crime. In fiscal year 2012, the office collected approximately $42.2 million from state debtors in satisfaction of their federal civil debts, including False Claims Act recoveries, such as procurement and health care fraud, and civil penalty and debt collection matters such as bankruptcy, student loans and foreclosures, according to Fein.

The largest civil recovery involved the collection of more than $24 million in March as the result of a settlement of four whistleblower lawsuits alleging various False Claims Act violations by Florida-based WellCare Health Plans Inc. WellCare is a provider of managed health care services for approximately 2.6 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries nationwide. One lawsuit was filed in the District of Connecticut and three were filed in the Middle District of Florida. As a result of the settlement, WellCare agreed to pay the federal government and nine states a total of $137.5 million.

The office also collected more than $18 million in civil and criminal payments from Connecticut-based defense contractor United Technologies Corp., and its Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. and Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. subsidiaries, as part of a global settlement with the federal government in connection with the companies’ illegal export to China of U.S.-origin military software used in the development of China’s first modern military attack helicopter.

The Financial Litigation Unit tracked and enforced payment of more than $9.5 million for special assessments, fines and restitution from federal criminal offenders who were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In Connecticut, $1.3 million in funds derived through asset forfeiture were provided to local law enforcement under the Equitable Sharing Program.

Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices collected $13.2 billion in criminal and civil actions during fiscal year 2012. The amount nearly matches the $13.2 billion collected in fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2011 combined, and it represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the combined 93 offices for fiscal year 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office employs approximately 64 assistant U.S. attorneys, 45 staff members and 13 contractors at offices in New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport.

The office’s annual reports can be found at: www.justice.gov/usao/reading—room/foiamanuals.html.

Information about the Crime Victims Fund can be found at: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/about/victimsfund.html.

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