SACRAMENTO — The Eastern District of
$49 million in criminal and civil enforcement actions and, with the
help of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other offices, an additional $3
billion in fiscal year 2016.
The largest amount of financial
recovery came from cases involving government money fraudulently
“Our office is committed to
aggressively pursuing monetary compensation in both criminal and
civil matters from those who cause harm to the public,” Phillip A.
Talbert, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said
in a statement.
“Each year, we collect more money for victims and taxpayers than it
costs to operate our office. This year’s financial recoveries are
no different, and they reflect the strength of our commitment to
ensuring that the public does not bear the costs of those who commit
criminal and civil violations in our district.”
Funds were recovered on behalf of
several organizations including the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the
Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration, and the
Department of Education.
The DOJ recovered
$4.7 billion from False Claim Act (FCA) cases in 2016. This is the
third-highest FCA recovery amount in history, with $1.2 billion
coming from the drug and medical device industry. .
federal budget is about $3.8 trillion,” John Doherty, president of
the Civil Justice Association of California, told The Northern
California Record. “So $4.7 billion is only a small percentage
of that, but $4.7 billion is still a lot of money not matter how you
Doherty said much of the funds
were recovered from the housing-market crash. A report
on justice.gov said that $1.6 billion in settlements of housing and
mortgage claims, which was the federally insured mortgage program's
second-largest annual recovery ever.
The department announced
it “collected more than five times the appropriated budget for all
94 U.S. attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions of the
Justice Department combined” in the recently completed fiscal year.
addition to FCA claims, the department also made recoveries in
Controlled Substance Act violation cases. Marshall Medical Center
alone paid $5.5 million to settle its FCA case. It recovered $1
million from the CRC Health Group’s case.
In the Eastern
District of California, $7.5 million was recovered for wildfire
damages in 2016.
Doherty believes the numbers are so high partly
because of inflation, but also partly because of the department's focus
on the FCA and not because fraud itself has risen.
numbers show we can be positive the department is enforcing the law,
but there is no evidence to show the numbers of fraud are drastically
rising,” he said.
While Doherty doesn’t believe fraud is
rising, he does believe the department’s crackdown on recovering
the funds might have a positive effect on fraud.
enforcement programs helps limit the amount of fraud out there,” he
said. “Although you will never be able to eliminate fraud and
crime, it does help dissuade some bad actors.”