Northern District collects more than $3 million in FY2013 - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Northern District collects more than $3 million through civil, criminal actions in 2013 fiscal year

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U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says the Northern District of West Virginia collected more than $3 million during  the 2013 fiscal year, all but about $886,000 of it through criminal actions.

Ihlenfeld said his district generated $2,355,043.62 through criminal actions and $885,641.93 from civil actions.

Additionally, he said the Northern District worked with other U.S. Attorney's Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $11 million in civil cases pursued jointly with these offices.

Earlier, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had reported the Justice Department collected $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, more than three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney's offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.

"The Department's enforcement actions help to not only ensure justice is served, but also deliver a valuable return to the taxpayer," Holder had said. "It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the Department's mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment."

"My office works hard every day to protect the public and to recover funds for the federal treasury and for victims of crime," said Ihlenfeld. "And for those who seek to profit from their illegal activities, we will continue to do everything within our power to take away assets that are acquired through criminal conduct."

The largest criminal collection in the Northern District of West Virginia was the payment of $963,367  in restitution from Bernie Metz through the liquidation of the Roadworthy Tavern and Resort in West Liberty, and several vehicles seized through the criminal asset forfeiture process. Metz, the  former chief executive officer at Center Valley Credit Union in Wheeling,  embezzled $8,989,484 from customers, leading to the credit union's bankruptcy. Metz still owes almost $3.9 million in restitution.

Other large criminal collections included:

  • $600,000.00 paid by Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC as a result of its conviction on three counts of unauthorized discharge into a waterway of the United States, in violation of the Clean Water Act, relative to the dumping of approximately 60 tons of crushed stone and gravel on three different occasions into Blake Fork in Wetzel County, West Virginia, while developing access roads to a natural gas drilling site.
  • $502,278.63 paid by Joseph Yurigan, D.C. of New Alexandria, Pa., for submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Although Yurigan still owes $322,692 to the Internal Revenue Service, nearly all of the restitution was paid at sentencing. The victims include Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, the West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, and BrickStreet Insurance.

Large civil collections from 2013 include:

  • $11,000,000.00 paid by Vertullus Specialties, Inc. through a consent judgment wherein it agreed to the payment of a civil penalty for violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, (CERCLA) regarding clean-up costs at the Sharon Steel/Fairmont Coke Works property along Hoult Road in Fairmont.
  • $660,000.00 paid in the 2013 fiscal year by the Ohio Valley Health Education & Services Corporation, Ohio Valley Medical Center, and East Ohio Regional Hospital  on a case settled in FY 2012. The organizations still owe nearly $1.84 million dollars to the federal government for violations of the Stark Act and improper compensation arrangements with physicians, Ihlenfeld said.
  • $116,188.03 paid by Meadows Stone & Paving, Inc., Gassaway, for penalties, interest and administrative fees regarding citations issued to it by the Mine Safety and Health Administration as a result of safety violations at its quarry operated near Valley Head, Randolph County.

Large criminal asset forfeitures in the last fiscal year include:

  • $2,078,595.96 in assets and currency from Jeffrey Paglia, convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and structuring monetary transactions to avoid reporting requirements.  Of this amount, slightly more than $1,099,968  is the appraised value on real and personal properties and $978,627  is in U.S. currency. Paglia previously operated a store in Clarksburg known as "Hot Stuff, Cool Things" from which he sold a synthetic drug sometimes referred to as Bath Salts.
  • $130,200.00 forfeited by John Amorusco, Jr. as a result of his conviction for  conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
  • $76,625.00 in assets and currency from Kimberly Mull as a result of her conviction for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances." Of this amount, $76,625.00 is the appraised value on forfeited vehicles and $50,000 is in currency.

The U.S. Attorneys' Offices, along with the Departments 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 directly to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the Department's Crime Victims' Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance program.

The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.

Additionally, Ihlenfeld's office, while working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $2,527,824.36 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2013. Forfeited assets are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.