Government Regulatory Convictions for December 2013

Number Latest Month 219
Percent Change from previous month 20.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago 9.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 0.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -11.8
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2013 the government reported 219 new government regulatory convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 20.3% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for 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 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (9.1 percent). Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 0.9 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in government regulatory convictions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in government regulatory convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of government regulatory convictions 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 convictions of these matters in December 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 67.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (13.2%), " Money Laundering-Other" (8.7%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (3.2%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (2.3%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory convictions in December 2013 was Interior accounting for 57 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory convictions were: SecServ (11% ), DHS (7%), Agri (7%), IRS (5%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Convictions by investigative agency

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2013, 139 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 16 U.S.C Section 460 involving the "Natchez Trace Parkway". This was the lead charge for 42.4 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 4.21c - Speeding" (18.7%).

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2013, 80 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 convictions of government regulatory matters filed in U.S. District Court during December 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 10 1 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 9 2 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 6 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 6 3 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 6 3 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 5 6 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 4 7 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 4 7 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 3 9 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 3 9 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 3 9 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "Laundering of monetary instruments" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371, "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 472 and "Securities of the States and private entities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 513.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 30.6 government regulatory convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of government regulatory convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

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


Judicial District Count Rank  
Texas, W 6 1 More
N. Y., E 5 2 More
Fla, M 4 3 More
Ill, N 4 3 More
N. J. 4 3 More
Wyoming 4 3 More
Ala, M 3 7 More
Cal, S 3 7 More
Fla, S 3 7 More
Hawaii 3 7 More
Mo, W 3 7 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio)—with 6 convictions—was the most active during December 2013.

  • The Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), District of New Jersey and District of Wyoming 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 resulting in convictions of this type during December 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 5 1 More
Watkins, William Keith Ala, M 3 2 More
Kobayashi, Leslie Emi Hawaii 3 2 More
Carman, Mark L. Wyoming 3 2 More
Burrell, Garland Ellis, Jr. Cal, E 2 5 More
Conway, Anne C. Fla, M 2 5 More
Guzman, Ronald A. Ill, N 2 5 More
Schroeder, Thomas D. N Car, M 2 5 More
Hillman, Noel Lawrence N. J. 2 5 More
Griesa, Thomas Poole N. Y., S 2 5 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 7 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory convictions , while the remaining 3 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Samuel Frederick Biery, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 5 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

  • Judges William Keith Watkins in the Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery), Leslie Emi Kobayashi in the District of Hawaii and Mark L. Carman in the District of Wyoming ranked 2nd with 3 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

Report Generated: February 11, 2014
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