Government Regulatory Prosecutions for February 2014

Number Latest Month 146
Percent Change from previous month 15.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago -5.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 1.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -16.1
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during February 2014 the government reported 146 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 15% 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 (-5 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 1.6 percent from levels reported in 2009.

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 February 2014 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 34.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (30.8%), " Money Laundering-Other" (17.1%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (7.5%), "Export Enforcement General" (3.4%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (3.4%), "Health and Safety Violations-Employees" (2.7%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in February 2014 was Interior accounting for 27 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: SecServ (27% ), DHS (18%), DEA (8%), IRS (4%). 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 2014, 59 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 13.6 percent of all magistrate filings in February.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" (11.9%), "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (8.5%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In February 2014, 87 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February there were an additional 25 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 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 14 1 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 14 1 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 10 3 More
31 USC 5313 - Reports on domestic coins and currency transaction 10 3 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 8 5 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 8 5 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 8 5 More
30 USC 820 - Mine Safety and Health - Penalties 4 8 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 4 8 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 3 10 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Obligations or securities of United States" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 471) and "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 472) were the most frequent recorded lead charges.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 and "Reports on domestic coins and currency transaction" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5313.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In February 2014 the Justice Department said the government brought 42.8 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, N 16 1 More
Miss, N 10 2 More
Cal, C 7 3 More
Mo, E 7 3 More
Ind, S 6 5 More
N. Y., E 5 6 More
Virg, E 5 6 More
Miss, S 4 8 More
Cal, S 3 9 More
Fla, S 3 9 More
Montana 3 9 More
Texas, W 3 9 More
Wyoming 3 9 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth)—with 16 prosecutions—was the most active during February 2014.

  • The Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford) ranked 2nd.

  • Central District of California (Los Angeles) and Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) 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 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 10 1 More
Perry, Catherine D. Mo, E 6 2 More
Hussmann, William G., Jr. Ind, S 4 3 More
Ozerden, Halil Suleyman Miss, S 4 3 More
Robinson, Mary Lou Texas, N 4 3 More
Hudson, Henry E. Virg, E 3 6 More
Burns, Larry Alan Cal, S 2 7 More
Smoak, John Richard, Jr. Fla, N 2 7 More
Williams, Kathleen Mary Fla, S 2 7 More
Phillips, Mary Elizabeth Mo, W 2 7 More
Christensen, Dana Lewis Montana 2 7 More
Head, Hayden Wilson, Jr. Texas, S 2 7 More
Lubing, James K. Wyoming 2 7 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 10 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 13 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Reed Charles O'Connor in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) ranked 1st with 10 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge Catherine D. Perry in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 2nd with 6 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges William G. Hussmann, Jr. in the Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis), Halil Suleyman Ozerden in the Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) and Mary Lou Robinson in the Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) ranked 3rd with 4 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: April 24, 2014
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