Government Regulatory Prosecutions for April 2014

Number Latest Month 124
Percent Change from previous month -46.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago -21.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 2.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -24.4
Table 1. Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2014 the government reported 124 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 46.1 percent over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with government regulatory-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 (-21.4%). Prosecutions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are up 2.6 percent from levels reported in 2009.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in government regulatory prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of government regulatory 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 government regulatory, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

Case types within government regulatory are

  • Counterfeiting and Forgery

  • Customs Violations - Duty

  • Customs Violations - Currency

  • Energy Pricing and Related Fraud

  • Health and Safety Violations - Employees

  • Health and Safety Violations - General Public

  • Copyright Violations

  • Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes

  • Energy Violations - Nuclear Waste Issues

  • Money Laundering/Structuring (Narcotics)

  • Money Laundering/Structuring (Other)

  • Export Enforcement General

  • Other Government Regulatory Offenses

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in April 2014 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 40.3 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (21%), " Money Laundering-Other" (16.9%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (13.7%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (2.4%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (2.4%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in April 2014 was Interior accounting for 22 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: DHS (19% ), SecServ (15%), FBI (13%), Agri (11%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3. Prosecutions by Investigative Agency

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In April 2014, 64 defendants in government regulatory 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 April the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 19 involving "Petty Offense Defined". This was the lead charge for 15.6 percent of all magistrate filings in April.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 4.21c - Speeding" (14.1%), "18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments" (7.8%), "36 CFR 261.13 - Prohibit to possess/operate motor vehicle National Forest System land" ( 7.8%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In April 2014, 60 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during April there were an additional 24 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 April.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of government regulatory matters filed in U.S. District Court during April 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 14 1 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 13 2 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 10 3 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 8 4 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 8 4 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 5 6 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 4 7 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 3 8 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 2 9 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 2 9 More
Table 2. Top Charges Filed

  • "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 472) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In April 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 32.1 government regulatory prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of government regulatory 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  
R. I. 8 1 More
Cal, S 7 2 More
Penn, M 6 3 More
Arizona 4 4 More
Mich, E 4 4 More
N. J. 4 4 More
N. Y., E 4 4 More
Texas, S 4 4 More
Alaska 3 9 More
Fla, S 3 9 More
Kansas 3 9 More
Ohio, N 3 9 More
Texas, W 3 9 More
Wyoming 3 9 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The District of Rhode Island — with 8 prosecutions — was the most active during April 2014.

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton) is 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 government regulatory crime cases of this type during April 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Lisi, Mary M. R. I. 8 1 More
Snow, G. Murray Arizona 3 2 More
Marten, John Thomas Kansas 3 2 More
Edmunds, Nancy Garlock Mich, E 3 2 More
Adams, John R. Ohio, N 3 2 More
Smith, Walter Scott, Jr. Texas, W 3 2 More
Burgess, Timothy Mark Alaska 2 7 More
Sabraw, Dana Makoto Cal, S 2 7 More
Sammartino, Janis Lynn Cal, S 2 7 More
Dimitrouleas, William P. Fla, S 2 7 More
Kugler, Robert B. N. J. 2 7 More
Dorsey, Jennifer Anna Nevada 2 7 More
Conaboy, Richard Paul Penn, M 2 7 More
Kane, Yvette Penn, M 2 7 More
Rainey, John David Texas, S 2 7 More
Jones, James Parker Virg, W 2 7 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 14 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory filings , while the remaining 2 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 16 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Mary M. Lisi in the District of Rhode Island ranked 1st with 8 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges G. Murray Snow in the District of Arizona, John Thomas Marten in the District of Kansas, Nancy Garlock Edmunds in the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit), John R. Adams in the Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland) and Walter Scott Smith, Jr. in the West ern District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: July 3, 2014
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