Official Corruption Prosecutions for January 2014

Number Latest Month 41
Percent Change from previous month 141.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago -10.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -30.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -32.3
Table 1: Criminal Official Corruption Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2014 the government reported 41 new official corruption prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 141.2% 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 2014 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-10.2 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 30.6 percent from levels reported in 2009.

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 January 2014 was for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Local", accounting for 31.7 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Program" (22%), " Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Other" (17.1%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-State" (9.8%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Law Enforcement" (7.3%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Other" (7.3%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Procurement" (4.9%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for official corruption prosecutions in January 2014 was FBI accounting for 51 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of official corruption referrals were: Defense (7% ), HUD (7%), IRS (7%), Labor (7%). 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 January 2014, 7 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 January the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 involving the "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US". This was the lead charge for 57.1 percent of all magistrate filings in January.

Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In January 2014, 34 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during January there were an additional 7 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 January.

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 January 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 666 - Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds 7 1 More
18 USC 2114 - Mail, money, or other property of United States 5 2 More
18 USC 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses 4 3 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 4 3 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 3 5 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 3 5 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 3 5 More
18 USC 1709 - Theft of mail matter by officer or employee 2 8 More
18 USC 208 - Acts affecting a personal financial interest 1 9 More
18 USC 287 - False, fictitious or fraudulent claims 1 9 More
18 USC 505 - Seals of courts; signatures of judges or court off 1 9 More
18 USC 510 - Forging endorsements on Treasury checks, bonds se 1 9 More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 1 9 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 1 9 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 1 9 More
18 USC 1951 - Hobbs Act 1 9 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 1 9 More
29 USC 501 - Fiduciary responsibility - officers of labor orgs 1 9 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 was the lead charge "Mail, money, or other property of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2114.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Bribery of public officials and witnesses" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 201 and "Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In January 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 15.7 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  
Puer Rico 6 1 More
N. J. 5 2 More
Fla, S 4 3 More
Penn, E 4 3 More
Virg, E 3 5 More
Hawaii 2 6 More
Iowa, S 2 6 More
Cal, C 1 8 More
Cal, E 1 8 More
D. C. 1 8 More
Fla, M 1 8 More
Ga, M 1 8 More
Kansas 1 8 More
Mich, W 1 8 More
Mo, W 1 8 More
N. Y., E 1 8 More
N. Y., S 1 8 More
Ohio, S 1 8 More
Okla, W 1 8 More
Penn, W 1 8 More
S Car 1 8 More
Texas, N 1 8 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The District of Puerto Rico—with 6 prosecutions—was the most active during January 2014.

  • The District of New Jersey ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of Florida (Miami) and Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) 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 January 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Gelpi, Gustavo Antonio, Jr. Puer Rico 5 1 More
Wigenton, Susan Davis N. J. 2 2 More
Gardner, James Knoll Penn, E 2 2 More
Spencer, James Randolph Virg, E 2 2 More
Mueller, Kimberly Jo Cal, E 1 5 More
Bates, John D. D. C. 1 5 More
Toomey, Joel B. Fla, M 1 5 More
Moreno, Federico A. Fla, S 1 5 More
Altonaga, Cecilia M. Fla, S 1 5 More
Cohn, James I. Fla, S 1 5 More
Cooke, Marcia G. Fla, S 1 5 More
Treadwell, Marc Thomas Ga, M 1 5 More
Gillmor, Helen W. Hawaii 1 5 More
Watson, Derrick Kahala Hawaii 1 5 More
Marten, John Thomas Kansas 1 5 More
Neff, Janet T. Mich, W 1 5 More
Kays, David Gregory Mo, W 1 5 More
Walls, William H. N. J. 1 5 More
Bumb, Renee Marie N. J. 1 5 More
Shipp, Michael A. N. J. 1 5 More
Gershon, Nina N. Y., E 1 5 More
Carter, Andrew L., Jr. N. Y., S 1 5 More
Frost, Gregory L. Ohio, S 1 5 More
Heaton, Joe L. Okla, W 1 5 More
DuBois, Jan Ely Penn, E 1 5 More
Savage, Timothy J. Penn, E 1 5 More
Diamond, Gustave Penn, W 1 5 More
Besosa, Francisco Augusto Puer Rico 1 5 More
Cummings, Samuel Ray Texas, N 1 5 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

All 29 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 29 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Gustavo Antonio Gelpi, Jr. in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 1st with 5 defendants in official corruption cases.

  • Judges Susan Davis Wigenton in the District of New Jersey, James Knoll Gardner in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and James Randolph Spencer in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) ranked 2nd with 2 defendants in official corruption cases.

Report Generated: March 17, 2014
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