Government Regulatory Prosecutions for May 2013

Number Latest Month 257
Percent Change from previous month -10.8
Percent Change from 1 year ago 20.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 9.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -19.7
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2013 the government reported 257 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 10.8% 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 up (20.3 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 9.9 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in government regulatory prosecutions

The increase 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 May 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 64.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (19.8%), " Customs-Currency Violations" (5.4%), "Money Laundering-Other" (5.4%), "Export Enforcement General" (2.7%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in May 2013 was Interior accounting for 57 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: SecServ (18% ), DHS (8%), Agri (4%), IRS (3%). 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 May 2013, 175 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 May the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 22.3 percent of all magistrate filings in May.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (20%), "36 CFR 2.10d - Improper Food Storage" (5.1%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In May 2013, 82 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May there were an additional 19 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 May.

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 May 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 22 1 1 1 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 11 2 3 2 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 9 3 9 6 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 9 3 7 10 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 8 5 4 4 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 6 6 26 12 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 6 6 6 8 More
22 USC 2778 - Control of arms exports and imports 5 8 15 21 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 3 9 2 3 More
26 USC 7201 - Attempt to evade or defeat tax 3 9 46 - More
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 1 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 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Exporting and importing monetary instruments(" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5316 and "Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332. "Exporting and importing monetary instruments(" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5316 was ranked 9 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 five years ago."Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332 was ranked 7 a year ago , while it was ranked 10 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 300 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 26 U.S.C Section 7201 that involves " Attempt to evade or defeat tax ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—200 percent—was registered for prosecutions under " Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States " (Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 46.3 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 48.2 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In May 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 39.5 government regulatory prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita 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 per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 government regulatory prosecutions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Fla, S 378 21 1 2 2 More
Ga, M 363 6 2 32 - More
Ohio, N 103 5 3 19 32 More
Texas, S 100 7 4 13 22 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Florida (Miami)—with 378 prosecutions as compared with 39.5 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during May 2013. The Southern District of Florida (Miami) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Middle District of Georgia (Macon) ranked 2nd.

  • Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Southern District of Texas (Houston), now ranked 4th , and Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland) at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 13th and 19th one year ago and 22nd and 32nd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of government regulatory prosecutions compared to one year ago— 62.5 percent—was Southern District of Texas (Houston). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 166.7 percent—was Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland).

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 May 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Zloch, William J. Fla, S 8 1 More
Lawson, Hugh Ga, M 6 2 More
Graham, Donald L. Fla, S 5 3 More
Adams, John R. Ohio, N 4 4 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 4 4 More
Brack, Robert C. N Mexico 3 6 More
Hudson, Henry E. Virg, E 3 6 More
Bencivengo, Cathy Ann Cal, S 2 8 More
Conway, Anne C. Fla, M 2 8 More
Moore, Kevin Michael Fla, S 2 8 More
Ungaro, Ursula Mancusi Fla, S 2 8 More
Kapala, Frederick J. Ill, N 2 8 More
Crotty, Paul Austin N. Y., S 2 8 More
Sanchez, Juan Ramon Penn, E 2 8 More
Greer, J. Ronnie Tenn, E 2 8 More
Cummings, Samuel Ray Texas, N 2 8 More
Hoyt, Kenneth M. Texas, S 2 8 More
Smith, Walter Scott, Jr. Texas, W 2 8 More
Keeley, Irene Patricia Murphy W Virg, N 2 8 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 8 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory filings per capita, while the remaining 11 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 19 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge William J. Zloch in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 1st with 8 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge Hugh Lawson in the Middle District of Georgia (Macon) ranked 2nd with 6 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge Donald L. Graham in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 3rd with 5 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: July 22, 2013
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