U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh region collects what may be record amount

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Western Pennsylvania's federal prosecutors collected $24.4 million in criminal and civil actions in fiscal year 2013, and their counterparts in northern West Virginia collected another $3.2 million.

The totals brought in by the U.S. attorney's offices in Pittsburgh and Wheeling, announced this week and last, were part of the $8.1 billion collected by the Justice Department in 2013. That amount is more than triple the budget for the 94 U.S. attorney's offices nationwide, Attorney General Eric Holder said last week.

In addition to the $24 million, the Pittsburgh office also worked with other offices to collect another $5.7 million in cases pursued with those other jurisdictions.

The $24.4 million is nearly twice the $13.1 million collected the prior fiscal year and is believed to be a record for Western Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney David Hickton said the total amount brought in is more than twice what his office gets from the government to operate.

The bulk of the haul in Pittsburgh consisted of $15 million obtained through a settlement with Krones Aktiengesellschaft and Wisconsin-based U.S. subsidiary Krones Inc., which sold equipment to defunct Latrobe bottler Le-Nature's Inc.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Krones was part of the Le-Nature's fraud scheme, although the company did not admit criminal liability.

In Wheeling, the U.S. attorney's office said it brought in $3.2 million, a number that included more than $500,000 from a Westmoreland County chiropractor convicted of fraudulently billing Medicaid, Medicare, insurance companies and workers' compensation programs at his two West Virginia clinics.

Prosecutors said $2.3 million of the total was collected in criminal actions and another $885,000 in civil penalties.

The office also participated in the collection of another $11 million in civil cases pursued jointly with prosecutors in other offices.

Among the major criminal collections was $502,000 paid by Joseph Yurigan, a chiropractor from New Alexandria, Pa., who is serving 18 months in federal prison for health care fraud and tax evasion.

Mr. Yurigan ran Weirton Chiropractic Clinic and Wheeling Spine Center. Between 2004 and 2009, federal agents said, he billed for office visits and chiropractic services he never performed. In addition, he concealed his income, destroyed business records and hid assets from the IRS by placing them in the names of his children.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132. Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord.

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