The U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida collected $168,330,189 related to criminal and civil matters in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022. Of that, $103,089,821 represents total collections in criminal and civil actions. The office further breaks it down stating that $43,048,067 was recovered in locally handled cases — $17,769,638 in criminal and $25,278,429.11 in civil cases.
The civil division recovered $85,181,948 on behalf of federal agencies and programs in affirmative civil enforcement cases during the last fiscal year. In addition to its efforts in local civil cases, the district also joins forces with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and with the Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section to address fraud schemes and illegal practices beyond district boundaries. As part of these jointly handled cases, the Middle District’s Civil Division recovered another $59,903,519.32.
The district’s Asset Recovery Division, working with partner agencies, forfeited $65,240,368 from criminal and civil asset forfeiture actions completed in fiscal year 2022. These assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and used to restore funds to crime victims and for law enforcement purposes.
For example, more than $14 million forfeited in Florida’s middle district in this and prior years was given back to victims of the criminal offenses upon which the forfeitures were based, and approximately $3 million was shared with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The district anticipates that most of the more than $65 million forfeited in FY 2022 will be returned to crime victims.
The Middle District provided the following examples of cases that resulted in these recoveries:
Physician Partners of America was ordered to pay $24.5 million to settle allegations that the practice paid physicians based on the volume or value of the physicians’ orders for urine drug testing in violation of the Stark Law and Anti-kickback Statute. The case resulted from four overlapping whistleblower cases. During the investigation it was discovered that the practice group also had billed Medicare for fraudulent anesthesia claims at its surgery centers and had applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan that it was not eligible to receive.
Central Medical Systems, LLC, Joan Harley, and Alan Trent Harley agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by participating in a scheme to defraud Medicare for the submission of claims for wound care supplies. The case, which resulted from a whistleblower lawsuit.
Another whistleblower lawsuit alleged that four hospitals defrauded Medicare through a complex scheme through bogus “paper” charitable contributions by the hospitals to local government organizations. Two of the cases were settled for $5.5 million and $20 million.
The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale is known for its representation of whistleblowers, as well as its ability to defend those who become the target of a whistleblower action. Contact the firm at 305-358-4500, or send an email to [email protected].