Attorney General's Office recovers $311 million
LANSING -- Fueled by $263 million from giant tobacco companies, the state Attorney General's Office collected a record $311 million last year.
About $7.5 million came from the collection of late student loans, delinquent taxes and reimbursement from inmates who had the resources to help pay for the cost of their incarceration.
A further $2 million came from the recovery of fraudulent welfare benefits, and $2 million were from the collection of cash seizures in cases such as drug dealing and money laundering. About $3 million were gained from the return of money in health care fraud cases.
State attorneys also collected more than $14 million in environmental cases, including ones where polluters were forced to pay for cleanup.
But the biggest share of the money, more than 84 percent, came from the state's portion of the national lawsuit settlement involving the major tobacco companies and 44 states. Michigan is in line to receive $8.5 billion over 20 years under terms of the settlement.
The $311 million in overall collections compare with $14.6 million the state paid out last year to settle lawsuits filed against it.
"When you bring in 20 times the amount you pay out in judgments and settlements, it's a darn good year," said Atty. Gen. Jennifer Granholm. "I want my patch of government to run as efficiently, if not more so, than any other law firm in the state."