U.S. attorney’s office

Miami federal prosecutor’s office rakes in big bucks from misconduct

 

jweaver@MiamiHerald.com

Despite across-the-board cuts, the U.S. attorney’s office said it collected a total of $94.3 million from criminal and civil cases in the past year — more than double its operating budget.

The office, which has seen a 17 percent decrease in personnel during the U.S. government’s so-called sequester, raked in $33.1 million from criminal cases and $36.9 million from civil actions.

It also took in $24.3 million in criminal and civil forfeitures derived from illegal activity, such as drug trafficking and white-collar fraud.

In addition, the Miami federal prosecutor’s office teamed up with other U.S. attorney’s offices and the Justice Department in collecting about $272.5 million from mainly civil actions.

Overall, the collections are largely paid to victims and victim assistance programs. Some of the funds are also used for law enforcement investigations and resources.

Among the biggest collections: An $80 million civil settlement last June with the Walgreens pharmacy chain over rules violations that allowed tens of thousands of units of powerful painkillers such as oxycodone to illegally wind up in the hands of drug addicts and dealers.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami, with about 230 lawyers and 200 support staffers, handles prosecutions from Key West to Fort Pierce. It has long been considered one of the busiest of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorney’s offices.

“I am proud of the men and women of our office who work hard to secure restitution for crime victims and recover monies for the U.S. taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, who was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama.

Ferrer said “the numbers reflect that [this] office collects substantially more money than it spends and provides the taxpayers with an excellent return on their investment.”

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