The cost of prosecuting former Il. Gov. Rod Blagojevich provoked some commentary, but at the same time in the same courthouse, a doctor accused of scamming millions of dollars from Medicare and other health-care programs was sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors won a $20 million settlement from the former doctor, says the Chicago Sun-Times. That alone accounted for more than half of the entire annual $32 million budget of the Chicago U.S. attorney's office.
The U.S. attorney's office here collected from criminals and civil defendants three times as much money as it spent in taxpayer dollars this year, bringing in $99 million in settlements, fines, forfeitures and restitution. “If we do our jobs well prosecuting, I think it gets overlooked that we're not a giant money drain, we actually add value,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Part of the $99 million is pumped into the U.S. Department of Justice to bolster law enforcement and crime victim programs with the rest diverted into the national treasury. Nationally, 94 federal prosecutors' offices together broke a record for the money collected in civil and criminal cases in 2010. Said Fitzgerald: “We've made an effort [ ] to really focus on the financial aspects of crime. We're trying to take the financial bite out of crimes.”