Government Regulatory Prosecutions for October 2017

Number Latest Month 104
Percent Change from previous month -59.4
Percent Change from 1 year ago 5.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2017 the government reported 104 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 59.4 percent 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 2017 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was up (5.5%). 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 3.5 percent from levels reported in 2012.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The leveling out 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 2017 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 70.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (13.5%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (5.8%), "Money Laundering-Other" (5.8%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (3.8%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in October 2017 was Interior accounting for 65 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: SecServ (12% ), DHS (8%), DEA (3%), 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 October 2017, 70 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 "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 25.7 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (7.1%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2017, 34 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 2017.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 10 1 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 4 2 More
16 USC 704 - When/how migratory birds may be taken, killed,poss 3 3 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 3 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 3 3 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 3 3 More
31 USC 5322 - Monetary transactions - Criminal penalties 2 8 More
18 USC 514 - Fictitious Obligations 1 9 More
18 USC 1511 - Obstruction of State or local law enforcement 1 9 More
18 USC 1542 - False statement in application and use of passport 1 9 More
18 USC 2113 - Bank robbery and incidental crimes 1 9 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 1 9 More
21 USC 331 - Fed Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act - Prohibited acts 1 9 More
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 1 9 More
21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession 1 9 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 1 9 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 1 9 More
42 USC 1320a-8b - Attempts to interfere with administration of Social 1 9 More
50 CFR 27.83 - Indecency on a National Wildlife Refuge 1 9 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 "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Other US Code Section" under Title U.S.C Section, "When/how migratory birds may be taken, killed,poss" under Title 16 U.S.C Section 704, "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371, "Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 472 and "Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States" under Title 31 U.S.C Section 5332.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2017 the Justice Department said the government brought 16 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  
Kansas 5 1 More
S Car 5 1 More
Texas, S 4 3 More
Fla, M 3 4 More
Guam 3 4 More
La, M 3 4 More
Arizona 2 7 More
Fla, S 2 7 More
Ga, N 2 7 More
Mo, E 2 7 More
Wash, E 2 7 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The District of Kansas and District of South Carolina — with 5 prosecutions — were the most active during October 2017.

  • Southern District of Texas (Houston) 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 October 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Melgren, Eric F. Kansas 3 1 More
Bucklew, Susan C. Fla, M 2 2 More
Evans, Orinda Dale Ga, N 2 2 More
deGravelles, John Wheadon La, M 2 2 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 2 2 More
Rice, Thomas Owen Wash, E 2 2 More
Snow, G. Murray Arizona 1 7 More
Ferraro, D. Thomas Arizona 1 7 More
Sammartino, Janis Lynn Cal, S 1 7 More
Davis, Brian Jordan Fla, M 1 7 More
Moore, Kevin Michael Fla, S 1 7 More
Martinez, Jose E. Fla, S 1 7 More
Lozano, Rodolfo Ind, N 1 7 More
Jackson, Brian Anthony La, M 1 7 More
Noce, David D. Mo, E 1 7 More
White, Ronnie Lee Mo, E 1 7 More
Irizarry, Dora L. N. Y., E 1 7 More
Du, Miranda Mai Nevada 1 7 More
Laplante, Joseph Normand New Hamp 1 7 More
Smith, William E. R. I. 1 7 More
Mitchell, K. Nicole Texas, E 1 7 More
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 1 7 More
Rainey, John David Texas, S 1 7 More
Moses, Alia M. Texas, W 1 7 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 16 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 8 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 24 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Eric F. Melgren in the District of Kansas ranked 1st with 3 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges Susan C. Bucklew in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Orinda Dale Evans in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), John Wheadon deGravelles in the Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge), Micaela Alvarez in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) and Thomas Owen Rice in the Eastern District of Washington (Spokane) ranked 2nd with 2 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: November 28, 2017
TRAC Copyright
Copyright 2017, TRAC Reports, Inc.

TRAC RSS Feed for this page Email Feed for this page Email this page