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Justice’s consumer unit recovered $5.89b

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s consumer protection initiatives have recovered more than $5.89 billion since 2009 and have led to more than 140 criminal convictions and prison sentences of more than 327 years.

The department’s civil division released the figures Friday at a meeting of more than two dozen state and federal agencies focused on combatting fraud against consumers.

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The department’s Consumer Protection Branch last year recovered $1.9 billion in criminal fines and other financial penalties against companies that allegedly misbranded pharmaceuticals, sold unsafe products and resold prescription drugs that had been diverted from lawful channels.

The Consumer Protection Branch played an important role in bringing a lawsuit against credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s for allegedly scheming to defraud investors in residential mortgage-backed securities.

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