Government Regulatory Prosecutions for September 2013

Number Latest Month 284
Percent Change from previous month 35.2
Percent Change from 1 year ago 26.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 13.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 2.3
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 284 new government regulatory prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 35.2% 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was up (26.3 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 13.1 percent from levels reported in 2008.

The growth in these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall increase in government regulatory prosecutions is 2.3 percent instead of 13.1 percent. The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases by the Justice Department.

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 September 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 66.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (12.7%), " Export Enforcement General" (7.7%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (4.9%), "Money Laundering-Other" (3.2%), "Money Laundering-Drug" (2.1%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory prosecutions in September 2013 was Interior accounting for 61 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory referrals were: DHS (16% ), SecServ (12%), Agri (4%), IRS (2%). 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 September 2013, 193 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 September the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 36 U.S.C Section . involving the "Speeding". This was the lead charge for 21.8 percent of all magistrate filings in September.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (17.1%), "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (6.2%), "Other US Code Section" (5.2%).

Government Regulatory Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 91 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September there were an additional 24 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 September.

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 September 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 20 1 1 1 More
50 USC 1705 - International Emergency Economic Powers 12 2 30 52 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 11 3 2 3 More
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 8 4 3 4 More
31 USC 5316 - Exporting and importing monetary instruments( 8 4 12 7 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 8 4 9 13 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 6 7 11 - More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 5 8 8 14 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 5 8 6 10 More
22 USC 2778 - Control of arms exports and imports 3 10 21 17 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 "International Emergency Economic Powers" under Title 50 U.S.C Section 1705.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371. "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 366.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 50 U.S.C Section 1705 that involves " International Emergency Economic Powers ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—1300 %—when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 51.4 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— 53.4 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 45 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  
Fla, M 14 1 More
Wyoming 14 1 More
Virg, E 12 3 More
Texas, W 8 4 More
Fla, S 7 5 More
Ala, M 5 6 More
N. Y., E 5 6 More
Cal, C 4 8 More
Cal, S 4 8 More
N. J. 4 8 More
N. Y., W 4 8 More
Penn, M 4 8 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Middle District of Florida (Tampa) and District of Wyoming—with 14 prosecutions—were the most active during September 2013.

  • Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) 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 September 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Brinkema, Leonie M. Virg, E 11 1 More
Steele, John E. Fla, M 7 2 More
Albritton, William Harold, III Ala, M 5 3 More
Bucklew, Susan C. Fla, M 5 3 More
Rosenbaum, Robin S. Fla, S 5 3 More
Ross, Allyne R. N. Y., E 3 6 More
Yeakel, Earl Leroy, III Texas, W 3 6 More
Lubing, James K. Wyoming 3 6 More
Miller, Jeffrey T. Cal, S 2 9 More
Chappell, Sheri Polster Fla, M 2 9 More
Sachs, Howard Frederic Mo, W 2 9 More
Martini, William J. N. J. 2 9 More
Feldman, Jonathan W. N. Y., W 2 9 More
Conaboy, Richard Paul Penn, M 2 9 More
Briones, David Texas, W 2 9 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 1 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 15 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) ranked 1st with 11 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judge John E. Steele in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa) ranked 2nd with 7 defendants in government regulatory cases.

  • Judges William Harold Albritton, III in the Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery), Susan C. Bucklew in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa) and Robin S. Rosenbaum in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 3rd with 5 defendants in government regulatory cases.

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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