The Maryland U.S. attorney's office has been raking in the money--on behalf of taxpayers and crime victims.
In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the office collected about $16 million in criminal and civil fines--more than the office's annual budget of $10.1 million.
Maryland U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia announced last week that her office's financial litigation unit collected nearly $12.6 million in civil cases, with nearly half of that amount coming from civil environmental enforcement cases.
More than $3.5 million was collected in criminal fines and restitution to crime victims, Battaglia said.
In addition, $7.8 million in asset forfeitures--gained when people convicted of crimes are forced to turn over their take--was collected in Maryland by various federal agencies. They had help, Battaglia said, from the U.S. attorney's asset forfeiture unit, which trained the agencies on how to collect asset forfeitures and in some cases sued on behalf of the agencies.
Battaglia said the amount of money collected reflects the priority she has placed on what she called aggressive enforcement of federal statutes involving fines and restitution to crime victims.
Battaglia said she is proud of her prosecutors, who work in offices at the U.S. district courthouses in Greenbelt and Baltimore.
"Not only did our operation pay for itself, it collected more money than was allocated in our budget to run the entire operation in the Greenbelt and Baltimore offices," Battaglia said. "We are a profit center for the citizens of the United States."
"The more we can collect for the United States, the more likely it is that corporations will be less likely to engage in fraud against the United States," Battaglia said. "And victims should be reimbursed for their losses."
The total amount of money recovered by Battaglia's prosecutors featured several large fines:
* Through a consent decree, $4.1 million was recovered from Hudson Foods Inc. for violation of the federal Water Pollution Control Act at a poultry processing plant in Berlin. (Hudson has been bought out by Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc.)
* The Anne Arundel Medical Center paid more than $2.1 million to settle a case alleging that the center billed Medicare and Tricare programs for outpatient treatment that was falsely claimed to have been provided at the hospital, when in fact the treatments were self-administered at patients' homes and therefore not covered by Medicare and other federal health insurance programs.
* Installment payments totaling $438,830 from Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. (headquartered in Philadelphia) and the Halsey Drug Co. (headquartered in Rockford, Ill.), which collectively still owe more than $3.6 million in criminal fines.
* A total of $864,668 was recovered from John Burlbaugh, 52, of Poolesville, who pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud for using client funds from his Rockville company, Currency Management Inc., for business and personal expenses. The money was paid to individuals and companies, clients of Currency Management Inc., who were defrauded.
* Payments totaling $400,000 from the Orkand Corp., of Falls Church, for submitting false claims to the Energy Information Agency. The company submitted fraudulent bills to avoid federal compensation limits.
In addition to the large fines, Battaglia's office also made a number of smaller collections on behalf of victims of crime, individuals and companies:
* Nearly $3,000 was recovered and returned to people who were victimized by a motor vehicle theft ring.
* A total of $5,112 was recovered from Onie R. Anthony, of Baltimore, and returned to CUMIS Insurance Society Inc., headquartered in Madison, Wis. CUMIS was victimized by an embezzlement scheme by Anthony from a federally insured credit union.