About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An illegal alien who is caught while negotiating a drug deal, for example, might be indicted for drug dealing, numerous conspiracy offenses, as well as immigration violations. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on narcotics or illegal immigrants along the southwest border.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are those "lead charges" which resulted in prosecutions or convictions either in the most recent month or most recently completed fiscal year. Click on the statute of interest from the following table to obtain the complete text as well as links to exclusive TRAC Reports on these frequently cited lead charges.


U.S. Code Description
 07 USC 02024 Food Stamp Program - Violations and Enforcement
 08 USC 01324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
 08 USC 01325 Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
 08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
 08 USC 01328 Importation of alien for immoral purpose
 14 USC 00088 Coast Guard - Saving Life and Property
 15 USC 00001 Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penal
 15 USC 00078j Use/employ any manipulative/deceptive device/ in contravention
 15 USC 01644 Fraudulent use of credit cards; penalties
 16 USC 00003 Rules and regulations of national parks, etc
 16 USC 00470 Archeological Resource Protection
 16 USC 00551 Protection of national forests; rules and regs
 16 USC 00668 Bald and golden eagles
 16 USC 00703 Taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds
 16 USC 00704 When/how migratory birds may be taken, killed,poss
 16 USC 00707 Migratory Birds - violation penalties; forfeitures
 16 USC 01538 Endangered Species - Prohibitive acts
 16 USC 03372 Illegally Taken Fish & Wildlife - prohibited acts
 18 USC 00002 Aiding and Abetting
 18 USC 00003 Accessory after the fact
 18 USC 00004 Misprision of Felony
 18 USC 00007 Special Maritime/Territorial Jurisdiction of US
 18 USC 00013 Laws of States Adopted in Federal jurisdiction
 18 USC 00019 Petty Offense Defined
 18 USC 00032 Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities
 18 USC 00038 Fraud involving aircraft or space vehicle parts
 18 USC 00042 Importation/shipment of animals
 18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
 18 USC 00113 Assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdictions
 18 USC 00115 Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official
 18 USC 00117 Domestic assault by an habitual offender
 18 USC 00152 Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; etc
 18 USC 00153 Embezzlement by trustee or officer
 18 USC 00157 Bankruptcy Fraud
 18 USC 00175 Prohibitions with respect to biological weapons
 18 USC 00201 Bribery of public officials and witnesses
 18 USC 00203 Compensation to Members of Congress, etc
 18 USC 00228 Fail to pay legal child support obligations
 18 USC 00241 Conspiracy against rights
 18 USC 00242 Deprivation of rights under color of law
 18 USC 00286 Conspiracy to defraud the Government claims
 18 USC 00287 False, fictitious or fraudulent claims
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00373 Solicitation to commit a crime of violence
 18 USC 00401 Power of Court
 18 USC 00402 Contempts constituting crimes
 18 USC 00471 Obligations or securities of United States
 18 USC 00472 Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities
 18 USC 00473 Dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities
 18 USC 00474 Plates/stones for counterfeiting obligations, secu
 18 USC 00485 Coins or bars
 18 USC 00491 Counterfeiting Tokens or paper used as money
 18 USC 00500 Money orders
 18 USC 00501 Postage stamps, meter stamps, and cards
 18 USC 00510 Forging endorsements on Treasury checks, bonds se
 18 USC 00513 Securities of the States and private entities
 18 USC 00514 Fictitious Obligations
 18 USC 00545 Smuggling goods into the United States
 18 USC 00553 Import/exportation of stolen motor vehicles, etc
 18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
 18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
 18 USC 00654 Officer or employee of US converting property
 18 USC 00656 Theft/embezzlement/misapplication by bank off, emp
 18 USC 00657 Lending, credit and insurance institutions
 18 USC 00658 Property mortgaged/pledged to farm credit agency
 18 USC 00659 Interstate or foreign shipments by carriers
 18 USC 00661 Embezzelement/theft in special jurisdictions
 18 USC 00664 Theft or embezzlement from employee benefit plan
 18 USC 00666 Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds
 18 USC 00669 Theft/Embezzlement - Health Care
 18 USC 00751 Escape - Prisoners in custody
 18 USC 00758 High speed flight from immigration checkpoint
 18 USC 00793 Gathering/transmitting/losing defense information
 18 USC 00842 Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc
 18 USC 00844 Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives
 18 USC 00846 Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary
 18 USC 00871 Threats against President and successors
 18 USC 00875 Interstate Communications
 18 USC 00876 Mailing threatening communications
 18 USC 00894 Collection of extensions of credit by extortionate
 18 USC 00911 False personification - Citizen of the US
 18 USC 00912 False personification - Officer or employee of US
 18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
 18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
 18 USC 00930 Possession of firearms/dangerous weapons in federal facility
 18 USC 00951 Agents of foreign governments
 18 USC 00956 Conspire to kill/kidnap/maim person or damage property foreign country
 18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
 18 USC 01005 Fraud - Bank entries, reports and transactions
 18 USC 01014 Fraud - Loan and credit applications etc
 18 USC 01015 Fraud - Natzation, citizenship, alien registry
 18 USC 01018 Fraud - Official certificates or writings
 18 USC 01020 Fraud - Highway projects
 18 USC 01028 Fraud and related activity - id documents
 18 USC 01028A Aggravated Identity Theft
 18 USC 01029 Fraud and related activity - access devices
 18 USC 01030 Fraud and related activity - computers
 18 USC 01031 Making fraud against the United States
 18 USC 01033 Insurance Fraud
 18 USC 01035 False claims relating to health care matters
 18 USC 01036 Entry by false pretenses to any property, vessel or aircraft of the US
 18 USC 01038 False Information and Hoaxes
 18 USC 01040 Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits
 18 USC 01071 Concealing person from arrest
 18 USC 01073 Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony
 18 USC 01084 Gambling ships - transmit of wagering information
 18 USC 01111 Murder
 18 USC 01112 Manslaughter
 18 USC 01156 Indians - Intoxicants possessed unlawfully
 18 USC 01163 Embezzlement and theft from Indian Tribal organiza
 18 USC 01167 Theft from gaming establishments on Indian lands
 18 USC 01201 Kidnaping
 18 USC 01204 International parental kidnapping
 18 USC 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
 18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
 18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
 18 USC 01346 Scheme or artifice to defraud
 18 USC 01347 Health Care Fraud
 18 USC 01348 Securities Fraud
 18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
 18 USC 01361 Malicious Mischief - Govrnmt property or contracts
 18 USC 01365 Tampering with consumer products
 18 USC 01382 Entering military, naval, or Coast Guard property
 18 USC 01425 Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw
 18 USC 01462 Importation of transportation of obscene matters
 18 USC 01470 Transfer of obscene materials to minors
 18 USC 01503 Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally
 18 USC 01511 Obstruction of State or local law enforcement
 18 USC 01512 Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
 18 USC 01513 Retaliating against a witness, victim or informant
 18 USC 01519 Destruct, alter, falsify records in fed. investigations and bankruptcy
 18 USC 01521 Retaliate against federal judge/law enforcement false claim/slander
 18 USC 01542 False statement in application and use of passport
 18 USC 01543 Forgery or false use of passport
 18 USC 01544 Misuse of passport
 18 USC 01546 Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
 18 USC 01589 Forced Labor
 18 USC 01591 Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion
 18 USC 01594 Attempted Forced Labor
 18 USC 01621 Perjury generally
 18 USC 01623 False declarations before grand jury or court
 18 USC 01701 Obstruction of mails generally
 18 USC 01703 Delay or destruction of mail or newspapers
 18 USC 01704 Postal keys or locks stolen or reproduced
 18 USC 01705 Destruction of letter boxes or mail
 18 USC 01708 Theft or receipt of stolen mail matter generally
 18 USC 01709 Theft of mail matter by officer or employee
 18 USC 01711 Misappropriation of postal funds
 18 USC 01791 Providing or possessing contraband in prison
 18 USC 01792 Prisons - Mutiny and riot prohibited
 18 USC 01832 Theft of trade secrets
 18 USC 01852 Public lands - Timber removed or transported
 18 USC 01855 Public lands - Timber set afire
 18 USC 01920 False statement - Fed employees compensation
 18 USC 01951 Hobbs Act
 18 USC 01952 Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport
 18 USC 01955 Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses
 18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
 18 USC 01957 Monetary transactions w/property from unlawful act
 18 USC 01958 Interstate commerce facilities - murder for hire
 18 USC 01959 Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity
 18 USC 01960 Prohibition of illegal money transmitting business
 18 USC 01962 RICO - prohibited activities
 18 USC 01992 Wrecking trains
 18 USC 02111 Robbery/burglary - Special jurisdiction
 18 USC 02113 Bank robbery and incidental crimes
 18 USC 02114 Mail, money, or other property of United States
 18 USC 02115 Robbery - Post office
 18 USC 02118 Robberies/burglaries w/controlled substances
 18 USC 02119 Carjacking
 18 USC 02241 Aggravated sexual abuse
 18 USC 02242 Sexual abuse
 18 USC 02243 Sexual abuse of a minor or ward
 18 USC 02244 Abusive sexual contact
 18 USC 02250 Fail to register as sex offender after traveling interstate commerce
 18 USC 02251 Sexual exploitation of children
 18 USC 02251A Selling or buying children
 18 USC 02252 Material involving sexual exploitation of minors
 18 USC 02252A Activity relating material constituting/containing chil
 18 USC 02256 Sexual exploitation/other abuse of children
 18 USC 02261 Interstate domestic violence
 18 USC 02261A Stalking
 18 USC 02312 Transportation of stolen vehicles
 18 USC 02314 Transportation of stolen goods, etc
 18 USC 02315 Sale or receipt of stolen goods, etc
 18 USC 02319 Criminal infringement of a copyright
 18 USC 02320 Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services
 18 USC 02332 Terrorism - Criminal penalties
 18 USC 02339B Provide material support to foreign terrorist orgs
 18 USC 02342 Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts
 18 USC 02421 Transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes
 18 USC 02422 Transport for sex - Coercion and enticement
 18 USC 02423 Transportation of minors for sexual activity
 18 USC 02511 Interception/disclosure of communications
 18 USC 03048 Commitment to another district; removal--Rule 40
 18 USC 03144 Release or detention of a material witness
 18 USC 03146 Penalty for failure to appear
 18 USC 03147 Penalty for an offense committed while on release
 18 USC 03148 Sanctions for violation of a release
 18 USC 03237 Offenses begun in one district and completed in another
 18 USC 03565 Revocation of probation
 18 USC 03583 Term of supervised release after imprisonment
 18 USC 03605 Transfer of probation jurisdiction
 18 USC 03606 Arrest and return of a probationer
 18 USC 04082 Commitment to AG; residential treatment
 18 USC 05032 Delinquency Proceedings in District Court
 19 USC 01459 Reporting requirements for individuals
 20 USC 01097 Higher education Resources & Student Assistance
 21 USC 00331 Fed Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act - Prohibited acts
 21 USC 00333 Fed Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act - Penalties
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00842 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts B
 21 USC 00843 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C
 21 USC 00844 Penalty for simple possession
 21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
 21 USC 00856 Establishment for manufacturing operations
 21 USC 00860 Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a
 21 USC 00952 Importation of controlled substances
 21 USC 00960 Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00963 Attempt and conspiracy
 22 USC 02778 Control of arms exports and imports
 26 USC 05841 Registration of firearms
 26 USC 05861 Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts
 26 USC 07201 Attempt to evade or defeat tax
 26 USC 07202 Willful failure to collect or pay over tax
 26 USC 07203 Willful failure to file return, supply information
 26 USC 07206 Fraud and False statements
 26 USC 07214 Offenses by officers and employees of US
 28 USC 01782 Assist foreign/international tribunals and litigants before tribunals
 29 USC 00501 Fiduciary responsibility - officers of labor orgs
 31 USC 05313 Reports on domestic coins and currency transaction
 31 USC 05316 Exporting and importing monetary instruments
 31 USC 05322 Monetary transactions - Criminal penalties
 31 USC 05324 Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir
 31 USC 05331 Report relating to coin/currency received in nonfinance trade/business
 31 USC 05332 Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
 33 USC 01311 Effluent limitations - Water Pollution
 33 USC 01319 Water Pollution - Enforcement
 33 USC 01908 Prevention of Pollution from Ships - Penalties
 38 USC 06101 VA Benefits - Misappropriation by fiduciaries
 40 USC 01315 Law enforce authority Secretary Homeland Security for protect property
 42 USC 00408 Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties
 42 USC 01383 Social Security -Procedure for payment of benefits
 42 USC 01383a Fraudulent acts; penalties; restitution
 42 USC 07412 Natl emission standards hazardous air pollutants
 42 USC 07413 Air Pollution Prevention and Control - Fed strd
 45 USC 00231 Retirement of RR Employees; RR Retirement Act
 46 USC 02302 Operation of Vessels; Penalties for negligent op
 46 USC 70503 Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US
 46 USC 70506 Penalties
 47 USC 00553 Unauthorized recption of cable service
 49 USC 05124 Hazard Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act
 49 USC 46504 Interference with flight crew members and attendants
 50 USC 00797 Control of Subversive Activities


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