White Collar Crime Prosecutions for December 2009
Table 1: Criminal White Collar Crime Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2009 the government reported 674 new white collar crime prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 9.2% over the previous month.
|White Collar Crime
This report summarizes the government's recent efforts when it comes to combating white
collar crime—the number of such cases, the investigative agencies involved, the laws cited, the
busiest federal districts and the busiest federal judges.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with white collar crime-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 2009 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was up (8.8 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 19.9 percent from levels reported in 2004.
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
white collar crime prosecutions is 1.8 percent instead of 19.9 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.
The increase from the levels five years ago in white collar crime prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of white collar crime 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.
Figure 1: Monthly trends in white collar crime prosecutions
Within the broad category of white collar crime, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within white collar crime are
| ||Federal Procurement Fraud
|| ||Federal Program Fraud
| ||Tax Fraud
|| ||Arson for Profit
| ||Other Insurance Fraud
|| ||Financial Institution Fraud
| ||Bankruptcy Fraud
|| ||Advance Fee Schemes
| ||Other Fraud Against Businesses
|| ||Consumer Fraud
| ||Securities Fraud
|| ||Commodities Fraud
| ||Other Investment Fraud
|| ||Antitrust Violations - Other
| ||Computer Fraud
|| ||Health Care Fraud
| ||Fraud Against Insurance Providers
|| ||Intellectual Property Violations
| ||Insider Fraud Against Insurance Providers
|| ||MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements) Fraud/MET
| ||Antitrust Violations - Airlines
|| ||Antitrust Violations - Banking
| ||Antitrust Violations - Defense Procurement
|| ||Antitrust Violations - Extraterritorial Application Of
| ||Antitrust Violations - Finance Markets, Other than Banking
|| ||Telemarketing Fraud
| ||Corporate Fraud
|| ||Identity Theft
| ||Aggravated Identity Theft
|| ||Other White Collar Crime/Fraud
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in December 2009 was for "Fraud-Identity Theft-Other", accounting for 19 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Fraud-Financial Institution" (14.1%), "Fraud-Other
" (9.6%), "Fraud-Other Business" (9.3%), "Fraud-Federal Program" (8.2%), "Fraud-Tax" (8%), "Fraud-Health Care" (6.7%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (6.1%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (5%), "Fraud-Consumer" (2.8%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for white collar crime prosecutions in December 2009
was FBI accounting for 26 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of white collar crime referrals were:
DHS (19% ), SecServ (16%), Postal (8%), IRS (8%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency
White Collar Crime Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In December 2009, 177 defendants
in white collar crime 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 December the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 involving the "Aggravated identity theft". This was the lead charge
for 57.1 percent of all magistrate filings in December.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 1344 - Bank fraud" (10.7%), "18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices" (7.9%), "18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles" (6.8%).
White Collar Crime Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In December 2009, 497 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there
were an additional 40 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 December.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of white collar crime matters
filed in U.S. District Court during December 2009.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"Bank fraud" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.
"Bank fraud" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was the 1 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343.
"Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343 was ranked 5 a year ago, while it was the 4 most frequently invoked 5 years ago..
Ranked 3rd was "Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349.
"Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349 was ranked 8 a year ago.
Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest
increase in prosecutions—up 64.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349
that involves " Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
This was the same statute that had the largest increase—4480 %—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 35.3 percent—was
Fraud and related activity - id documents
(Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 ).
Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 28 percent—was
for filings where the lead charge was " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In December 2009 the Justice Department said the government brought 215.7 white collar crime prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of white collar crime 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 white collar crime prosecutions to receive a ranking.
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)
The Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson)—with 1463 prosecutions as compared with 215.7 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during December 2009.
The Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) was ranked 8 a year ago.
The Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 2nd.
Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) is now ranking 3rd.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis), now ranked
, and Western District of Missouri (Kansas City)
In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 21st one year ago and 9th and 19th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of white collar crime prosecutions compared to one year ago— 120 percent—was
Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).
Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 600 percent—was
Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery).
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of white collar crime prosecutions— 27.3 percent—was
Southern District of Alabama (Mobile).
But over the past five years,
Western District of Missouri (Kansas City)
showed the largest drop— 6.9 percent.
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 white collar crime crime cases of this type
during December 2009 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 10 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of white collar crime filings per capita, while the remaining 2 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Ortrie D. Smith in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) ranked 1st with 17 defendants in white collar crime cases.
Judge Tom Stewart Lee in the Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) ranked 2nd with 12 defendants in white collar crime cases.
Judge Joan A. Lenard in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 3rd with 11 defendants in white collar crime cases.