The Department of Justice said today it recovered $5.6 billion in criminal and civil fraud investigations in fiscal year 2011, without releasing many details.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said in a news conference at the White House touting the administration’s approach to federal cost-cutting that the $5.6 billion is more than has ever been recovered in a single year in the department’s history. He said recoveries included $3.4 billion in civil fraud and more than $2.2 billion in criminal fraud.
“We will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who seek to defraud the American people,” Cole said in a statement. “Those who commit fraud will be held to account. And the American taxpayer will continue to see a high rate of return on its investment in the Department of the Justice.”
On a state-by-state level, federal fraud recoveries doubled between 2008 and 2011 in 21 states, Cole said. He did not give comparisons between 2010 and 2011. He highlighted Minnesota, which saw increases in criminal and civil fraud recoveries from $14 million in 2008 to $270 million in 2011.
Cole talked about the high-profile investigations of companies selling defective bulletproof vests to government agencies. To date, he said, the department has recovered more than $61 million in settlements from 10 different companies.
In remarks today, Vice President Joe Biden said the department has recovered $15 million in total fraud since 2009.
The department did not include a more detailed breakdown of the amounts recovered for different divisions and categories. The Criminal Division did not release that information until January 2011 for FY 2010. Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney did not immediately respond to requests for a more detailed description of the recoveries.
Last year, enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act accounted for nearly half of the $2 billion recovered by the department’s Criminal Division.