Government Regulatory Prosecutions for December 2013

Number Latest Month 143
Percent Change from previous month -30.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago 4.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 5.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -5.1
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2013 the government reported 143 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 30.9% 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was up (4.9 percent). 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 5 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 December 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 54.5 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (21%), " Money Laundering-Other" (7%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (4.9%), "Export Enforcement General" (4.9%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (4.2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in December 2013 was Interior accounting for 36 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: SecServ (18% ), DHS (16%), Agri (6%). 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 December 2013, 78 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 December the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 24.4 percent of all magistrate filings in December.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "Other US Code Section" (15.4%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2013, 65 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there were an additional 12 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 government regulatory matters filed in U.S. District Court during December 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 16 1 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 8 2 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 8 2 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 6 4 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 4 5 More
18 USC 545 - Smuggling goods into the United States 3 6 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 3 6 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 3 6 More
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 2 10 More
13 USC 305 - Unlawful Export Information Activities 2 10 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 2 10 More
18 USC 666 - Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds 2 10 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 2 10 More
18 USC 2320 - Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services 2 10 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 2 10 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 were the lead charges "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 and "Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 29.4 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  
Fla, S 6 1 More
Wyoming 5 2 More
Fla, M 4 3 More
N. J. 4 3 More
Penn, M 4 3 More
S Car 4 3 More
Texas, S 4 3 More
Arizona 3 8 More
Cal, N 3 8 More
Fla, N 3 8 More
Ga, M 3 8 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Southern District of Florida (Miami)—with 6 prosecutions—was the most active during December 2013.

  • The District of Wyoming ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of Florida (Tampa), District of New Jersey, Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton), District of South Carolina and Southern District of Texas (Houston) 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 government regulatory crime cases of this type during December 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Carman, Mark L. Wyoming 5 1 More
Cecchi, Claire Claudia N. J. 4 2 More
Seeborg, Richard G. Cal, N 3 3 More
Smoak, John Richard, Jr. Fla, N 3 3 More
Moore, Kevin Michael Fla, S 3 3 More
Covington, Virginia Maria Hernandez Fla, M 2 6 More
Lawson, Hugh Ga, M 2 6 More
Seabright, J[ohn] Michael Hawaii 2 6 More
Ross, Allyne R. N. Y., E 2 6 More
Geraci, Frank Paul, Jr. N. Y., W 2 6 More
Kane, Yvette Penn, M 2 6 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 8 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 3 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Mark L. Carman in the District of Wyoming ranked 1st with 5 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge Claire Claudia Cecchi in the District of New Jersey ranked 2nd with 4 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges Richard G. Seeborg in the Northern District of California (San Francisco), John Richard Smoak, Jr. in the Northern District of Florida (Pensacola) and Kevin Michael Moore in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 3rd with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: February 11, 2014
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