Convicted criminal offenders can be sentenced to jail time, but they could also face financial penalties.
According to reports, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama collected more than $7.5 million in civil forfeitures and criminal actions during the 2014 fiscal year. It may come as a surprise, but criminal and civil actions are a significant source of revenue for state and federal prosecutors as well as police agencies. Especially fruitful are convictions for white collar crimes, including fraud.
Individuals who are under investigation should consult with an experienced advocate as soon as possible to minimize charges and penalties.
In addition to the $7.5 million brought in by the U.S. Attorney’s office, cases that were jointly pursued with assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice brought in an additional $117.8 million in civil actions. There was $3.2 million collected in criminal actions and $4.3 million in civil actions.
According to representatives, the goal of the U.S. Attorney’s office means “seeking justice” by putting criminals behind bars and ensuring American taxpayers and the federal government are compensated for financial losses.
For individuals who are under investigation for criminal activity, it is important to remember it’s not just your freedom at stake, but your financial well-being even upon your release.
The Northern District of Alabama includes 37 counties, including Birmingham and Huntsville. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reported the largest financial collections came from settlements related to fraudulent health care claims. This year, defendant Hospice Compassus settled for $3.93 million after allegations the company submitted false claims to Medicare. Two former employees who were whistleblowers in the qui tam case were able to collect and share over $700,000.
In another case, American Family Care Inc. paid significant penalties for knowingly submitting fraudulent Medicare claims and billing at higher than normal rates. A claims processor who shed the light on the Birmingham company received $204,000 of the $1.2 million settlement with the company.
A large majority of criminal and civil financial penalties are collected related to white collar crimes, including fraud. Many of the funds collected in Northern Alabama were related to Medicare fraud, including a $150 million penalty from Amedisys, one of the largest home health providers in the U.S. According to reports, a whistleblower-nurse uncovered the fraudulent scheme involving false home healthcare billings to Medicare. The nurse in was able to collect over $15 million in shedding light on the fraud.
While those who are guilty of large scare financial crimes should be investigated and penalized, it is important that defendants have experienced counsel and advocacy. Our Birmingham federal crimes defense attorneys are committed to investigating allegations of fraud to protect our clients. Remember that white collar crimes are often investigated for weeks, months, even years before you are brought in for questioning. An experienced advocate is necessary to level the playing field when confronted by federal investigators. The money collected in the northern district of Alabama is only a fraction of the $24.7 billion collected nationally.