Over the years, Congress has enacted thousands of
criminal laws. Within certain limits, this means
that federal investigative agencies and prosecutors
can -- and frequently do -- charge individual
defendants with violating numerous different laws.
A taxpayer who has sought to cheat the government
can be charged with knowingly filing an incorrect
return. In recent years, however, if the
circumstances warrant, the same taxpayer also might
be charged with money laundering. Similarly, an
organized crime figure might be charged with
various drug crimes, numerous organized crime and
conspiracy charges and in some situations even tax
During the data collection process, the Justice
Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead
charge" on all criminal referrals they process.
Obviously, these judgements often are somewhat
subjective when multiple serious violations are
involved. On other occasions, the judgements may by
influenced by the political needs of the moment: an
administration, for example, that wants to show the
public it is concentrating on such subjects as
organized crime or threats to the nation's internal
Here then, as view through the lens of federal
prosecutors across the country, are that statutes
most frequently cited as being the "lead charge" in
the referrals coming from the IRS. The laws are
presented in the order of their statute numbers.
The complete text of these frequently cited
statutes can be viewed by selecting the particular
law of interest in the following table.