Government Regulatory Convictions for February 2014

Number Latest Month 138
Percent Change from previous month -6.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago 6.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 2.1
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 February 2014 the government reported 138 new government regulatory convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 6.1% 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 2014 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (6.6 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 2.1 percent from levels reported in 2009.

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 February 2014 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 43.5 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (23.9%), " Money Laundering-Other" (10.9%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (8%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (4.3%), "Contraband Cigarettes-Trafficking in" (3.6%), "Export Enforcement General" (3.6%), "Health and Safety Violations-Employees" (2.2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory convictions in February 2014 was Interior accounting for 30 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory convictions were: SecServ (22% ), DHS (16%), Agri (12%), IRS (6%). 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 February 2014, 48 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 16 U.S.C Section 551 involving the "Protection of national forests; rules and regs". This was the lead charge for 20.8 percent of all magistrate convictions in February.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 4.21c - Speeding" (14.6%).

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In February 2014, 90 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during February 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 February.

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 February 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 12 1 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 12 1 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 10 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 8 4 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 7 5 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 5 6 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 5 6 More
18 USC 510 - Forging endorsements on Treasury checks, bonds se 4 8 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 4 8 More
22 USC 2778 - Control of arms exports and imports 3 10 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "Obligations or securities of United States" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 471) and "Laundering of monetary instruments" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956) were the most frequent recorded lead charges.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5324.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In February 2014 the Justice Department said the government obtained 34.4 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  
Virg, E 8 1 More
Wyoming 7 2 More
N Car, M 4 3 More
Penn, M 4 3 More
Ala, S 3 5 More
La, W 3 5 More
N. J. 3 5 More
Oregon 3 5 More
Texas, N 3 5 More
Texas, W 3 5 More
W Virg, S 3 5 More
Wash, W 3 5 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria)—with 8 convictions—was the most active during February 2014.

  • The District of Wyoming ranked 2nd.

  • Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro) and Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton) 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 February 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Smith, Rebecca Beach Virg, E 4 1 More
Lubing, James K. Wyoming 4 1 More
Granade, Callie V. Ala, S 3 3 More
Hillman, Noel Lawrence N. J. 3 3 More
Conner, Christopher C. Penn, M 3 3 More
Hudson, Henry E. Virg, E 3 3 More
Walter, Donald Ellsworth La, W 2 7 More
Tauro, Joseph Louis Mass 2 7 More
Bramlette, David C., III Miss, S 2 7 More
Beaty, James A., Jr. N Car, M 2 7 More
Hernandez, Marco Antonio Oregon 2 7 More
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 2 7 More
Chambers, Robert Charles W Virg, S 2 7 More
Jones, Richard A. Wash, W 2 7 More
Carman, Mark L. Wyoming 2 7 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 13 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 2 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 15 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Rebecca Beach Smith in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) and James K. Lubing in the District of Wyoming ranked 1st with 4 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

  • Judges Callie V. Granade in the Southern District of Alabama (Mobile), Noel Lawrence Hillman in the District of New Jersey, Christopher C. Conner in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton) and Henry E. Hudson in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria ) ranked 3rd with 3 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

Report Generated: April 24, 2014
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