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U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida Collects Millions from 2013 White Collar Crime Actions

Recently, we reported about the billions of dollars collected by the U.S. Department of Justice in relation to white collar crime. Now it has been revealed that Florida authorities also collected considerable amounts as well. In fact, federal prosecutors seized $247 billion from criminal activity and fraud cases, and this includes the recovery of $367 million for illegal acts committed in the Middle District of Florida, which encompasses the cities of Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida has stated that the recovery resulted in the collection of $16 for each dollar invested by the government for the office. The money collection came from a broad range of illegal white collar crime activities. Most of the funds generated were the result of an Orlando Ponzi scheme and also from white collar crime court cases.

It was not always the case that the Middle District U.S. Attorney was recovering large amounts of money as the result of white-collar crime investigations. In fact, in 2004, the office only collected around $34.6 million, which is a tenth of the amount of the funds collected this year. However, last year the Middle District collected over $360 million, much of which came from a single lawsuit that the Middle District attorneys only partially took part in. Now, 2014 is being hailed as the best financial year that the Middle District has ever experienced. This is primarily because the money so far has actually been collected and is in the Middle District’s possession, and is not based on pending court judgments that have not already been recovered. The financial success of the Middle District has also been attributed to a new and enhanced focus on health care fraud.

Major Sources of Recovery

Given the fact that the entire budget of the Middle District Attorney General’s office was $23 million, the recovery of almost 15 times of the total budget has meant that the Middle District has been extremely efficient in 2014. A large portion of the $367 million recovered is the result of the seizing of $100 million worth of gold bars, which were part of the total amount of $180 million that was seized from an Orlando-based Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors through claims of revenue generation from foreign currency exchange investments. The funds from the sale of these gold bars will be placed in a fund intended to reimburse victims of the scheme. Another source of funds for the Middle District was whistleblower suits as related to an assortment of health care fraud schemes that occurred in Tampa, including a $22.8 million settlement with Genzyme Corp.

Many wonder where the seized funds go. Some funds are paid directly to the federal government as restitution, as well as to local law enforcement agencies that participate in investigations. Take, for example, the 2011 federal seizure of a Daytona Beach hotel where it was discovered that the hotel owner was filming child pornography. Though the funds received from the sale of the hotel were not counted in this year’s total amount of seized assets, around $400,000 of funds from the sale were distributed to the local law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation.

In 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida made big recoveries because of whistleblower cases, health care fraud and other white collar crime investigations and suits. If you need criminal defense representation, please contact attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. in Miami today.

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