Government Regulatory Convictions for September 2013

Number Latest Month 331
Percent Change from previous month 59.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago 13.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -3.4
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -15.2
Table 1: Criminal Government Regulatory Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 331 new government regulatory convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 59.1% over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for 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 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was up (13.1 percent). Convictions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are down 3.4 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in government regulatory convictions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in government regulatory convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of government regulatory convictions 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 convictions of these matters in September 2013 was for "Other-Regulatory Offenses", accounting for 61.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (19%), " Money Laundering-Other" (7.9%), "Contraband Cigarettes-Trafficking in" (4.2%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (2.7%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory convictions in September 2013 was Interior accounting for 53 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory convictions were: SecServ (12% ), DHS (10%), ATF (5%), FBI (4%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Convictions by investigative agency

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In September 2013, 178 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 22.5 percent of all magistrate convictions in September.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance" (15.2%), "18 USC 19 - Petty Offense Defined" (14.6%), "Other US Code Section" (5.6%).

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 153 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September there were an additional 0 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 convictions of government regulatory matters filed in U.S. District Court during September 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 471 - Obligations or securities of United States 17 1 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 15 2 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 13 3 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 13 3 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 10 5 More
31 USC 5324 - Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir 9 6 More
36 CFR 2.35b2 - Possession of a controlled substance 9 6 More
18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities 8 8 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 8 8 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 6 10 More
18 USC 2320 - Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services 6 10 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "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 "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371.

  • Ranked 3rd were "Laundering of monetary instruments" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 and "Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 2342.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 59.8 government regulatory convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of government regulatory convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of convictions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.


Judicial District Count Rank  
Texas, S 11 1 More
Wyoming 11 1 More
Texas, W 9 3 More
Virg, W 8 4 More
Texas, N 7 5 More
Cal, C 6 6 More
Cal, S 6 6 More
Virg, E 6 6 More
Fla, M 5 9 More
Fla, S 5 9 More
N. Y., S 5 9 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts

  • The Southern District of Texas (Houston) and District of Wyoming—with 11 convictions—were the most active during September 2013.

  • Western District of Texas (San Antonio) 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 resulting in convictions of this type during September 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Urbanski, Michael Francis Virg, W 8 1 More
Tagle, Hilda G. Texas, S 4 2 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 4 2 More
Hudson, Henry E. Virg, E 4 2 More
McCalla, Jon Phipps Tenn, W 3 5 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 3 5 More
Lubing, James K. Wyoming 3 5 More
Otero, S. James Cal, C 2 8 More
Alsup, William Haskell Cal, N 2 8 More
Armstrong, Saundra Brown Cal, N 2 8 More
Hayes, William Q. Cal, S 2 8 More
Merryday, Steven Douglas Fla, M 2 8 More
Cook, Julian Abele, Jr. Mich, E 2 8 More
McBryde, John H. Texas, N 2 8 More
O'Connor, Reed Charles Texas, N 2 8 More
Yeakel, Earl Leroy, III Texas, W 2 8 More
Adelman, Lynn S. Wisc, E 2 8 More
Crabb, Barbara Brandriff Wisc, W 2 8 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 12 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory convictions , while the remaining 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 18 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Michael Francis Urbanski in the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 1st with 8 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

  • Judges Hilda G. Tagle in the Southern District of Texas (Houston), Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) and Henry E. Hudson in the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) ranked 2nd with 4 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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