Dept. of Justice in VA Collects over a Billion in Criminal/Civil Actions
The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Virginia says the total collections for 2012 stands at more than $1.1 billion.
The money comes from both criminal and civil actions in federal court. It's split pretty evenly and does include fines and forfeitures. The Western District of Virginia recovered a $500 million criminal fine and a $560 million civil action from a prescription drug misbranding case.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims.
"Our first priority is always to try to get money for victims. Sometimes that's difficult because that money is unfortunately gone. But we always try first to get restitution to get money back to victims," said Tim Heaphy, U.S. Attorney.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys' offices collected $13.1 billion in 2012. That's more than double the amount collected last year. The Western District's total represents one-twelfth of that number.
The Western District has 30 lawyers working on cases. Two worked full time on the prescription drug misbranding case for several years.
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
ROANOKE, VA - United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy announced today that the Western District of Virginia collected $1,119,762,058 in 2012 related to criminal and civil actions. Of this amount, $537,043,898 was collected in criminal actions and $582,718,160 was collected in civil actions. Additionally, the office collected $199,430,567 in criminal and civil forfeitures.
Nationwide, the U.S. Attorneys' offices collected $13.1 billion in criminal and civil actions during FY 2012, more than doubling the $6.5 billion collected in FY 2011. A portion of this amount, $5.3 billion, was collected in shared cases in which one or more U.S. Attorneys' offices or department litigating divisions were also involved. The $13.1 billion represents more than six times the appropriated budget of the combined 94 offices for FY 2012.
"In the past 12 months, this United States Attorney's Office collected over $1 billion in fines and forfeitures," said U.S. Attorney Heaphy said today. "This unprecedented number demonstrates our ongoing commitment to recover money for victims and prevent wrongdoers from profiting from their unlawful activity. The priority we place on financial recovery reflects the Department of Justice's commitment to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We will continue to make financial recoveries a paramount goal of our enforcement work and build on our past success in this area."
On the local level, the Western District of Virginia recovered a $500 million dollar criminal fine, as well as a $560,000,000 civil action in relation to the Abbot Labs prescription drug misbranding case.
In May, Abbott pled guilty to misbranding Depakote by promoting the drug to control agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients and to treat schizophrenia when neither of these uses was FDA approved. In an agreed statement of facts filed in the criminal action, Abbott admits that from 1998 through 2006, the company maintained a specialized sales force trained to market Depakote in nursing homes for the control of agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients, despite the absence of credible scientific evidence that Depakote was safe and effective for that use. In addition, from 2001 through 2006, the company marketed Depakote in combination with atypical antipsychotic drugs to treat schizophrenia, even after its clinical trials failed to demonstrate that adding Depakote was any more effective than an atypical antipsychotic alone for that use.
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. Statistics indicate the total amount collected in criminal actions totaled $3.035 billion in restitution, criminal fines, and felony assessment. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical or financial loss. While restitution is paid directly to the victims, criminal fines and felony assessment are paid to the department's Crime Victim's Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
The statistics also indicate that $10.12 billion was collected by the U.S. Attorneys' offices in individually and jointly handled 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.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorneys' offices, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $4.389 billion in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2012. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and Department of Treasury Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. The $13.16 billion collected nationwide by the U.S. Attorneys' offices for FY 2012 nearly matches the $13.18 billion collected in FY 2010 and FY 2011 combined.
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