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Justice Department made $3 billion in fraud recoveries in past year

November 22, 2010 | 11:45 am

The Justice Department secured $3 billion in settlements and judgments involving fraud against the U.S. government in the recently concluded fiscal year, the government said Monday.

More than 80% of the recoveries involved health-care fraud, including a $2.3-billion settlement that Pfizer Inc. paid to resolve investigations into illegal marketing of the painkillers Bextra and Lyrica, the schizophrenia drug Geodon and the antibiotic Zyvox. 

Most of the recoveries involved employees who sued their employers under the False Claims Act, which allows whistle-blowers to receive portions of any recovery the government makes. The $3 billion in recoveries was the second-highest in history.

The Justice Department also recovered $10.6 million from companies that defrauded the government through contracts related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Assistant Atty. Gen. Tony West, who oversees the Justice Department's civil division.

--Stuart Pfeifer