Government Regulatory Prosecutions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 225
Percent Change from previous month -18.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago -12.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -31.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -29.7
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 225 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 18.2% 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 (-12 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 31 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 October 2012 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 54.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (22.7%), " Money Laundering-Other" (6.7%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (5.3%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (5.3%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (3.6%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in October 2012 was Interior accounting for 44 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: DHS (16% ), SecServ (15%), IRS (6%), 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 October 2012, 135 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 October the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 23.7 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (6.7%), "36 CFR 2.10d - Improper Food Storage" (5.2%), "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (5.2%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 90 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 9 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 October.

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 October 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 14 1 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 12 2 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 10 3 More
18 USC 541 - Entry of goods falsely classified 9 4 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 8 5 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 8 5 More
18 USC 2320 - Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services 5 7 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 4 8 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 4 8 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 4 8 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Obligations or securities of United States" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 471) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 472.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 38.7 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  
Ga, N 9 1 More
Texas, N 8 2 More
Texas, W 8 2 More
Fla, M 7 4 More
N. Y., E 7 4 More
Texas, S 5 6 More
N. Y., S 4 7 More
Oregon 4 7 More
Penn, E 4 7 More
Vermont 4 7 More
Wyoming 4 7 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta)—with 9 prosecutions—was the most active during October 2012.

  • The Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth) and Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd.

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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Jones, Steve CarMichael Ga, N 9 1 More
Seybert, Joanna N. Y., E 6 2 More
Smith, Walter Scott, Jr. Texas, W 4 3 More
Sessions, William K., III Vermont 4 3 More
Kelly, Gregory J. Fla, M 3 5 More
Buchwald, Naomi Reice N. Y., S 3 5 More
Simon, Michael Howard Oregon 3 5 More
Robinson, Mary Lou Texas, N 3 5 More
Rainey, John David Texas, S 3 5 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 3 5 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

All 10 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory filings .

  • Judge Steve CarMichael Jones in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) ranked 1st with 9 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge Joanna Seybert in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) ranked 2nd with 6 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges Walter Scott Smith, Jr. in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) and William K. Sessions, III in the District of Vermont ranked 3rd with 4 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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