Government Regulatory Prosecutions for February 2012
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2012 the government reported 137 new government regulatory prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 4.6% 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-16.3 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 9.6 percent from levels reported in 2007.
Figure 1: Monthly trends in government regulatory prosecutions
The decrease 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
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 February 2012 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 48.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (27%), "
Money Laundering-Other" (8.8%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (5.8%), "Health and Safety Violations-Employees" (5.8%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in February 2012
was Interior accounting for 34 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were:
SecServ (24% ), DHS (9%), FBI (8%), Labor (5%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency
Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In February 2012, 75 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 February the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 31 U.S.C Section 5316 involving the "Exporting and importing monetary instruments(". This was the lead charge
for 9.3 percent of all magistrate filings in February.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (9.3%), "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (8%).
Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In February 2012, 62 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February there
were an additional 16 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 February.
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 February 2012.
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 "Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471.
Ranked 3rd was "Mine Safety and Health - Penalties" under Title 30 U.S.C Section 820.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In February 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 30.5 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.
Table 3: Top 10 districts
The Southern District of Florida (Miami)—with 8 prosecutions—was the most active during February 2012.
The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.
District of Montana and District of Oregon 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 February 2012 are shown in Table 4.
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 filings , while the remaining 4 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Walter Scott Smith, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 5 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Judge Gregory Frederick Van Tatenhove in the Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) ranked 2nd with 4 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Judges Ursula Mancusi Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) and Denise L. Cote in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 3rd with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Report Generated: May 8, 2012