Official Corruption Prosecutions for December 2012

Number Latest Month 28
Percent Change from previous month -12.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -12.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -8.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -10.5
Table 1: Criminal Official Corruption Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2012 the government reported 28 new official corruption prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 12.5% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with official corruption-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. (See Table 1)

When monthly 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-12.3 percent). Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 8.7 percent from levels reported in 2007.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in official corruption prosecutions

The decrease from the levels five years ago in official corruption prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of official corruption prosecutions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.

Within the broad category of official corruption, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

Case types within official corruption are

  • Federal Corruption - Procurement

  • Federal Corruption - Program

  • Federal Corruption - Law Enforcement

  • Federal Corruption - Other

  • State Corruption

  • Local Corruption

  • Other Public Corruption

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in December 2012 was for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Local", accounting for 35.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Program" (32.1%), " Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Law Enforcement" (21.4%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Other" (3.6%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Procurement" (3.6%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Other" (3.6%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for official corruption prosecutions in December 2012 was FBI accounting for 54 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of official corruption referrals were: DHS (14% ), Local (11%), HHS (4%), IRS (4%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency

Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2012, 1 defendants in official corruption cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

In the magistrate courts in December the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1001 involving the "Fraud/false statements or entries generally". This was the lead charge for 100 percent of all magistrate filings in December.

Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2012, 27 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there were an additional 0 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during December.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of official corruption matters filed in U.S. District Court during December 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 666 - Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds 8 1 More
18 USC 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses 3 2 More
18 USC 1040 - Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits 3 2 More
18 USC 846 - Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary 2 4 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 2 4 More
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 1 6 More
18 USC 207 - Restrictions on former officers, employees, etc 1 6 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 1 6 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 1 6 More
18 USC 1700 - Desertion of mails 1 6 More
18 USC 1791 - Providing or possessing contraband in prison 1 6 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 1 6 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 1 6 More
42 USC 408 - Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties 1 6 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 666) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency were the lead charges "Bribery of public officials and witnesses" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 201 and "Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1040.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 10.6 official corruption prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of official corruption prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of prosecutions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.

Judicial District Count Rank  
Mich, E 5 1 More
Mo, W 4 2 More
Arizona 2 3 More
Kansas 2 3 More
Nebraska 2 3 More
Penn, E 2 3 More
Texas, N 2 3 More
D. C. 1 8 More
Ga, S 1 8 More
Ill, S 1 8 More
Mass 1 8 More
Mo, E 1 8 More
N Mexico 1 8 More
N. Y., E 1 8 More
Ohio, N 1 8 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit)—with 5 prosecutions—was the most active during December 2012.

  • The Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Arizona, District of Kansas, District of Nebraska, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) are now ranking 3rd.

Top Ranked District Judges

At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new official corruption crime cases of this type during December 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Cook, Julian Abele, Jr. Mich, E 4 1 More
Vratil, Kathryn Hoefer Kansas 2 2 More
Dorr, Richard Everett Mo, W 2 2 More
Dalzell, Stewart R. Penn, E 2 2 More
Lindsay, Sam A. Texas, N 2 2 More
Bolton, Susan Ritchie Arizona 1 6 More
Silver, Roslyn O. Arizona 1 6 More
Howell, Beryl Alaine D. C. 1 6 More
Smith, G. R. Ga, S 1 6 More
Reagan, Michael Joseph Ill, S 1 6 More
Ponsor, Michael Adrian Mass 1 6 More
Hood, Denise Page Mich, E 1 6 More
Noce, David D. Mo, E 1 6 More
Larsen, Robert E. Mo, W 1 6 More
Wimes, Brian Curtis Mo, W 1 6 More
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 1 6 More
Cogan, Brian Mark N. Y., E 1 6 More
Bataillon, Joseph F. Nebraska 1 6 More
Thalken, Thomas D. Nebraska 1 6 More
Pearson, Benita Yalonda Ohio, N 1 6 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

All 20 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of official corruption filings . (Because of ties, there were a total of 20 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr. in the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) ranked 1st with 4 defendants in official corruption cases.

  • Judges Kathryn Hoefer Vratil in the District of Kansas, Richard Everett Dorr in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City), Stewart R. Dalzell in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and Sam A. Lindsay in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Wo rth) ranked 2nd with 2 defendants in official corruption cases.

Report Generated: February 20, 2013
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