Government Regulatory Prosecutions for July 2012
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during July 2012 the government reported 176 new government regulatory prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 6.9% 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 (-8 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 29 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 July 2012 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 53.4 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (23.9%), "
Money Laundering-Drug" (8%), "Money Laundering-Other" (6.8%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (5.7%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in July 2012
was Interior accounting for 43 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were:
SecServ (20% ), DHS (10%), DEA (6%), Agri (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 July 2012, 102 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 July the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 19 involving the "Petty Offense Defined". This was the lead charge
for 12.7 percent of all magistrate filings in July.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (9.8%), "31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" (5.9%).
Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In July 2012, 74 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during July there
were an additional 22 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 July.
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 July 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.
"Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 472) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471.
"Obligations or securities of United States" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 471 was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.
Ranked 3rd were "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 and "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 125 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 846
that involves " Attempt and conspiracy
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—150 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Penalty for simple possession
" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 844 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 44.9 percent—was
Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
(Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 59.6 percent—was
for filings where the lead charge was " Laundering of monetary instruments
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In July 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 37.5 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 District of Wyoming—with 10 prosecutions—was the most active during July 2012.
The Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 2nd.
Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) 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 July 2012 are shown in Table 4.
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 5 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 15 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in the Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) ranked 1st with 7 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Judge Joan A. Lenard in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 2nd with 5 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Jeffrey Steven White in the Northern District of California (San Francisco), John E. Steele in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Walter Scott Smith, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) and Richard D. Gist in the District of Wyoming
ranked 3rd with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.
Report Generated: October 1, 2012