U.S. Attorney's Office Collects $62.3 Million in 2016
The local U.S. Attorney’s office reports it collected $62.3 million this year in both civil and criminal cases.
The Northern District of Ohio collected about $55 million in criminal cases and about $7 million in civil ones during the 2016 fiscal year, which began in October 2015. That includes fines, forfeitures and settlements, according to district spokesman Mike Tobin.
Among the bigger cases the U.S. attorney cites: a doctor convicted last year of heath care fraud and other charges who was ordered to pay $5.4 million to Medicare and other insurers.
But the collections also come in smaller amounts. In Cleveland in 2014, the Ohio State Highway patrol pulled over a man with prior drug convictions. After searching him and his car, police seized $13,000 in cash.
He was cited for speeding, driving under suspension and possession of marijuana, which are minor misdemeanors in Cleveland. After a lengthy court process, the money was officially collected by the DOJ in the 2016 fiscal year.
The government practice of forfeitures has come under criticism in recent years from civil liberties groups such as the ACLU. Critics point to cases around the country in which law enforcement seize money from people who aren’t charged with a crime.
A news release from the Northern District of Ohio says the money collected is given to victims of crime, state and local law enforcement and “the general treasury.”