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Western district attorney collects $24M in fiscal 2011

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Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said last week that her office collected nearly $24 million in criminal and civil actions during fiscal 2011, compared to roughly $15 million the prior fiscal year.

“Much of this increase is due to our ongoing commitment to recover funds that are owed to the government through civil enforcement," Phillips said in the release. “We are also determined to hold criminals accountable who seek to profit from their illegal activities by seizing their assets and confiscating their illicit gain."

Of the $23.93 million total, $21.83 million was collected in civil actions and $2.1 million was collected in criminal actions.

Among the civil cases, the release cited an $8 million settlement from Ohio-based pharmaceutical distributor Cardinal Health for allegedly making payments to Missouri pharmacy owner R. Daniel Saleaumua, who formerly operated seven Medicine Shoppe pharmacies, to increase referrals for its prescription drugs, and a $6.25 million settlement with Minnesota-based hardware store distributor Fastenal Co. for allegedly making false claims to sell hardware products to the government.

Among criminal cases cited, Springfieldian Charles Thao, owner of Nutrapha Research LLC, pleaded guilty in March to his role in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving dietary supplements. The U.S. attorney's office collected $1.57 million as Thao and his associate in Michigan, Tony Pham, were convicted.

The Western District of Missouri comprises 66 of the state's 114 counties and consists of five divisions, St. Joseph, Western, Southwestern, Southern, and Central, according to its Web site.

Nationwide, the U.S. attorneys' offices collected $6.5 billion in criminal and civil actions during fiscal 2011, exceeding $6 billion for the second year in a row, according to the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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