Government Regulatory Prosecutions for January 2013

Number Latest Month 171
Percent Change from previous month -5.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -14.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -16.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -24.9
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during January 2013 the government reported 171 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 5.5% 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 (-14.7 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 16.8 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 January 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 53.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (19.9%), " Money Laundering-Other" (9.4%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (7.6%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (4.1%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (2.9%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in January 2013 was Interior accounting for 40 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: DHS (17% ), SecServ (16%), IRS (9%), Agri (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 January 2013, 103 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 January the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 17.5 percent of all magistrate filings in January.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (7.8%), "36 CFR 4.22b1 - Operating motor vehicle without due care/unreasonable speed" (6.8%), " 31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" (5.8%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In January 2013, 68 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during January there were an additional 21 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 January.

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 January 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 15 1 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 13 2 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 12 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 7 4 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 5 5 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 4 6 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 3 7 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 3 7 More
16 USC 470 - Archeological Resource Protection 2 9 More
18 USC 286 - Conspiracy to defraud the Government claims 2 9 More
18 USC 545 - Smuggling goods into the United States 2 9 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 2 9 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 2 9 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "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 was "Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In January 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 34.8 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  
Cal, S 11 1 More
Fla, M 7 2 More
Nebraska 5 3 More
Texas, S 4 4 More
Texas, W 4 4 More
Arizona 3 6 More
Fla, S 3 6 More
Guam 3 6 More
Ken, E 3 6 More
La, W 3 6 More
Mo, W 3 6 More
N. Y., S 3 6 More
Penn, E 3 6 More
Puer Rico 3 6 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego)—with 11 prosecutions—was the most active during January 2013.

  • The Middle District of Florida (Tampa) ranked 2nd.

  • District of Nebraska 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 January 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Houston, John A. Cal, S 7 1 More
Sammartino, Janis Lynn Cal, S 3 2 More
Conway, Anne C. Fla, M 3 2 More
Tydingco-Gatewood, Frances M. Guam 3 2 More
Hood, Joseph Martin Ken, E 3 2 More
Collins, Raner Christercunean Arizona 2 6 More
Thompson, Alvin W. Conn 2 6 More
Bucklew, Susan C. Fla, M 2 6 More
Williams, Kathleen Mary Fla, S 2 6 More
Hanna, Patrick J. La, W 2 6 More
Molzen, Karen B. N Mexico 2 6 More
Stein, Sidney H. N. Y., S 2 6 More
Frost, Gregory L. Ohio, S 2 6 More
Payne, James H. Okla, E 2 6 More
Savage, Timothy J. Penn, E 2 6 More
Fuste, Jose Antonio Puer Rico 2 6 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 2 6 More
Yeakel, Earl Leroy, III Texas, W 2 6 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 14 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 18 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge John A. Houston in the Southern District of California (San Diego) ranked 1st with 7 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges Janis Lynn Sammartino in the Southern District of California (San Diego), Anne C. Conway in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood in the District of Guam and Joseph Martin Hood in the Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington) ranked 2nd with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: March 5, 2013
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