Government Regulatory Prosecutions for February 2013

Number Latest Month 177
Percent Change from previous month -3.8
Percent Change from 1 year ago -7.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -15.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -24.3
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2013 the government reported 177 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 3.8% 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 down (-7.7 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 15 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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

  • 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 February 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 36.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (31.1%), " Money Laundering-Other" (10.7%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (9.6%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (4%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (4%), "Export Enforcement General" (2.8%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in February 2013 was SecServ accounting for 27 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: DHS (24% ), Interior (23%), Agri (8%), IRS (5%). 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 February 2013, 87 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 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 14.9 percent of all magistrate filings in February.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "Other US Code Section" (5.7%), "18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities" (5.7%), "31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" (5.7%), " 36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (5.7%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In February 2013, 90 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February there were an additional 14 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 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 23 1 2 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 15 2 1 1 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 13 3 5 11 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 8 4 4 2 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 6 5 5 14 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 5 6 3 4 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 4 7 47 26 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 4 7 12 21 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 3 9 24 17 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 2 10 7 5 More
18 USC 545 - Smuggling goods into the United States 2 10 30 51 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 2 10 12 32 More
30 USC 820 - Mine Safety and Health - Penalties 2 10 24 21 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 2 10 10 6 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Obligations or securities of United States" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 471) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Obligations or securities of United States" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 471) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 472. "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 472 was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332. "Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332 was ranked 5 a year ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 1000 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 that involves " Public money, property or records ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—500 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Smuggling goods into the United States " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 545 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 60 percent—was Mine Safety and Health - Penalties (Title 30 U.S.C Section 820 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 64.7 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Securities of the States and private entities " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 513 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In February 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 40.7 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  
Texas, W 11 1 More
Tenn, W 8 2 More
Wyoming 5 3 More
Arizona 4 4 More
Cal, E 4 4 More
Ga, M 4 4 More
Mo, E 4 4 More
N. J. 4 4 More
S Car 4 4 More
Wisc, E 4 4 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio)—with 11 prosecutions—was the most active during February 2013.

  • The Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Wyoming 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 February 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
McCalla, Jon Phipps Tenn, W 6 1 More
O'Neill, Lawrence Joseph Cal, E 4 2 More
Treadwell, Marc Thomas Ga, M 4 2 More
Biery, Samuel Frederick, Jr. Texas, W 4 2 More
Randa, Rudolph Thomas Wisc, E 4 2 More
Lubing, James K. Wyoming 4 2 More
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 3 7 More
Dorr, Richard Everett Mo, W 3 7 More
Besosa, Francisco Augusto Puer Rico 3 7 More
Schell, Richard A. Texas, E 3 7 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 filings , while the remaining 3 judges were from other districts.

  • Judge Jon Phipps McCalla in the Western District of Tennessee (Memphis) ranked 1st with 6 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges Lawrence Joseph O'Neill in the Eastern District of California (Sacramento), Marc Thomas Treadwell in the Middle District of Georgia (Macon), Samuel Frederick Biery, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio), Rudolph Thomas Randa in the Eastern Dis trict of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and James K. Lubing in the District of Wyoming ranked 2nd with 4 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: April 23, 2013
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