MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota has set up a new unit to go after those committing fraud.

The Civil Frauds Unit will work with the office's criminal division to combat financial fraud - including health care fraud, mortgage fraud and bank fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says civil litigation requires a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, and can result in higher damage awards.

The unit will work closely with the criminal division to stop ongoing fraud and freeze assets even before indictments are filed.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says it already has a history of using the civil process to recover money in fraud cases. It has recovered more than $139 million since 1996.

The Civil Frauds Unit will be led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Wilhelm.

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