U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio collected $14,351,785.37 in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2021. Of this amount, $10,314,484.90 was collected in criminal actions and $4,037,300.47 was collected in civil actions.
“Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Financial Litigation Program in the Northern District was able to pursue and recover considerable funds from numerous civil and criminal judgments,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler. “When this Office represents the United States of America and secures a collection judgment, we will seek to recover every dollar possible.”
Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, working with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice agencies across the country, collected an additional $27,194,349.03 in cases pursued jointly by these offices.
In total, the Northern District of Ohio and partner agencies collected a combined total of $41,546,134.40 in criminal and civil actions and forfeitures in fiscal year 2021.
Notable collections and forfeitures in fiscal year 2021 include:
USA v. Stellato: Defendant Chad M. Stellato pleaded guilty in December of 2020 to defrauding Lowe’s Home Improvement stores via a fraudulent purchase and return scheme. Stellato was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $594,799.12, and final payment was collected within six months of sentencing.
USA v. Chime, et al.: Defendants John D. Chime, II, Jerry L. Stackhouse and Rogelio Alonso, Jr. were convicted of orchestrating a real estate investment scheme in 2012 and were ordered to pay $677,493.68 in restitution. Final restitution was collected in December of 2021.
USA v. Sturgill: Defendant James Sturgill pleaded guilty in December of 2000 to bank fraud and was ordered to pay $224,116.04 in restitution. Final restitution was collected in March of 2021.
U.S. ex rel. Ethical Solutions, LLC, et al. V. Akron General Health System, et al.: In July of 2021, Akron General Health System agreed to pay over $21 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that it had improper relationships with certain referring physicians, resulting in the submission of false claims to the Medicare program.
USA v. Shaffer Pharmacy, et al.: In June of 2021, Shaffer Pharmacy, located in Toledo, Ohio, agreed to pay $375,000 to resolve a civil suit filed under the Controlled Substances Act alleging that the pharmacy and two individuals filled prescriptions that did not have a legitimate medical purpose.
Tronair, Inc.: In September of 2021, Tronair, Inc., located in Swanton, Ohio, agreed to pay $92,400 to resolve a False Claims Act investigation that it sold several federal agencies aircraft tow tractors with remanufactured transaxles, in violation of its contracts with the affected agencies.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the department’s litigating divisions are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss.
While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.