U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak announced today that the Northern District of Georgia helped to collect over $77 million in civil and criminal restitution and financial penalties for Fiscal Year 2018, ending September 30, 2018. Of this amount, the Northern District of Georgia directly collected $29,899,597, of which $10,536,937 was collected in criminal actions and $19,362,660 was collected in civil actions.Also, the Northern District of Georgia worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice in joint cases to collect an additional $47,846,632. Of the amount collected jointly, $12,825 was collected in criminal actions and $47,833,807 was collected in civil actions.
As a whole, the Justice Department collected nearly $15 billionin civil and criminal actions in FY 2018. The $14,839,821,650 in collections in FY 2018 represents nearly seven times the appropriated $2.13 billion ($2,136,750,000) budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices.
“Recovery of restitution and the imposition of financial penalties are a critical part of enforcement in criminal and civil fraud cases,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “This announcement shows that through financial enforcement efforts, our office has delivered a significant financial benefit to the citizens of our district and the country.”
The largest collections were from affirmative civil enforcement actions, in which the United States recovered government funds lost to fraud or other misconduct, or collected fines imposed on individuals and corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. For example, the Northern District of Georgia investigated and recovered $3.2 million from Georgia Bone & Joint; Southern Bone & Joint; Southern Crescent Anesthesiology, PC; Sentry Anesthesia Management, LLC; and David LaGuardia for allegations of kickbacks and submission of false claims to Medicare for prescription drugs purchased outside of the United States which were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/orthopaedic-and-anesthesia-providers-pay-32-million-settle-false-claim-act-allegations. Similarly, over $30 million was recovered this year from Signature HealthCARE LLC in an investigation which began in this district and became national in scope following a whistleblower allegation filed in another district https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/signature-healthcare-pay-more-30-million-resolve-false-claims-act-allegations-related. This Office worked jointly with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section to investigate and ultimately settle violations of the False Claims Act for knowingly submitting false claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary, and skilled. In addition, the Northern District of Georgia recovered debts owed to federal agencies, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Treasury and Education, as well as the Small Business Administration.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are also responsible for enforcing and collecting criminal debts owed to the U.S. and 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. Examples of recoveries by the Northern District of Georgia include garnishments and other collection efforts that led to recovery of criminal restitution in the amounts of $290,493 in United States v. Justin Herring, and $328,784 in United States v. Paul Anderson, both fraud cases prosecuted by the office.