Uncle Sam Sees $24B Windfall As a Result of Record 2014 Financial Fraud Collections
The outgoing Attorney General of the US said that Justice Department collected more than $24 billion in civil and criminal actions in fiscal year 2014.
Hey, there is a video so it must be true!
Understandably, the AG gives credit to the members of the Department of Justice who work on these cases. Mr. Holder points out that this is actually 8 times the budget for the DOJ and the 94 USATTY’s offices. He claims the DOJ collected $24.7 billion so it’s rather classy that the headline rounded that down to 24 and not up to $25 billion.
It was a huge year for collections under many laws. The Department was able to collect some unusual and large cases related to Mortgage and Financial Fraud. So you could argue that this year is a bit of an outlier. However, some sources of fraud continue to pay off for the Department:
As in past years, collections from civil and criminal health care fraud penalties – including hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from pharmaceutical companies accused of fraud, false claims, and drug safety violations – were among the largest sources of recovered funds. And all across the country – from Wall Street to Main Street – the Justice Department’s robust criminal and civil efforts, in these and many other areas, have made a tremendous, positive difference in the lives of countless people.
I think that the most important part of the video is towards the end and it should not fall on a deaf Congress:
In the days ahead, as this work goes on; as we plan for the next fiscal year; and as the new Congress begins its annual appropriations process early next year, I urge leaders from both parties to come together to increase investments in this critical work – so we can ensure that the Justice Department will continue to have the resources we need to build on these efforts, and keep serving the American people, in the months and years to come.
The DOJ needs more resources to handle these kinds of cases. The Department needs more resources to investigate these claims. If 10 more experienced investigators and 10 more attorneys could handle just a few more False Claims Act cases well it would more than pay for itself. Nobody can be sure how many more cases that the Department could handle with more resources. One case that goes through full investigation and potentially litigation can certainly burn through a lot of professional time. That however is the point. The Department needs these resources and there really is not enough to handle what is out there.
Its clear on a financial basis, spending money on these resources provides a huge financial benefit to the government. Even that though is not the ultimate point. I mean, sure we want the government to collect money on these cases. However, the point is to deter and prevent fraud. To do that there needs to be serious action to handle more fraud cases. We are a long way from having so many lawyers that hiring a few more at the DOJ would mean those guys would sit with nothing to do.
One signal we are nowhere near that point is the fact that collections more than paid for the Department’s operations this past year. So, let’s hire some more lawyers and investigators. It will save us all a lot of money in the long and even in the short run.