White Collar Crime Convictions for December 2012

Number Latest Month 530
Percent Change from previous month 2.1
Percent Change from 1 year ago -12.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 11.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 8.5
Table 1: Criminal White Collar Crime Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2012 the government reported 530 new white collar crime convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 2.1% 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.

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The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for 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 2012 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-12.5 percent). Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 11.1 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 convictions is 8.5 percent instead of 11.1 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.

The increase from the levels five years ago in white collar crime convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of white collar crime 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.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

Figure 1: Monthly trends in white collar crime convictions

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 convictions of these matters in December 2012 was for "Fraud-Other", accounting for 16 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Fraud-Financial Institution" (12.1%), "Fraud-Health Care" (11.3%), " Fraud-Federal Program" (10.6%), "Fraud-Tax" (10.6%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Other" (7.9%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (7%), "Fraud-Other Business" (5.5%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (5.1%), "Fraud-Other Investment" (2.1%), "Fraud-Securities" (2.1%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for white collar crime convictions in December 2012 was FBI accounting for 31 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of white collar crime convictions were: IRS (14% ), SecServ (13%), Postal (9%), DHS (7%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Convictions by investigative agency

White Collar Crime Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2012, 14 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 convictions in December.

White Collar Crime Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2012, 516 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December 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 December.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of white collar crime matters filed in U.S. District Court during December 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 68 1 3 3 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 64 2 2 2 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 42 3 1 1 More
18 USC 1347 - Health Care Fraud 39 4 9 8 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 31 5 6 5 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 26 6 5 4 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 26 6 8 6 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 25 8 7 7 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 25 8 4 17 More
26 USC 7206 - Fraud and False statements 20 10 10 10 More
Table 2: Top charges for convictions

  • "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341. "Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Bank Fraud" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344. "Bank Fraud" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344 was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions—up 24.8 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 that involves " Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—783.3 percent—was registered for convictions under " Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 18.5 percent—was Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1349 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 26.3 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Bank Fraud " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1344 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2012 the Justice Department said the government obtained 201.7 white collar crime convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of white collar crime convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of convictions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 white collar crime convictions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Ill, S 1,130 12 1 47 79 More
La, E 1,124 15 2 47 61 More
Fla, S 936 52 3 1 1 More
S Dakota 739 5 4 78 57 More
Nebraska 735 11 5 35 36 More
Miss, S 521 8 6 18 24 More
Mo, E 495 12 7 10 14 More
Tenn, W 463 6 8 46 21 More
S Car 395 15 9 16 7 More
Ill, C 377 7 10 65 64 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis)—with 1130 convictions as compared with 201.7 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during December 2012.

  • The Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of Florida (Miami) is now ranking 3rd. The Southern District of Florida (Miami) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were South Carolina , now ranked 9th , and Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson) at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 16th and 18th one year ago and 7th and 24th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of white collar crime convictions compared to one year ago— 30 percent—was Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 244.4 percent—was Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of white collar crime convictions— 30 percent—was Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).  But over the past five years, South Dakota showed the largest drop— 38.1 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 resulting in convictions of this type during December 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Africk, Lance M. La, E 12 1 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 11 2 More
Norton, David C. S Car 10 3 More
Marra, Kenneth A. Fla, S 9 4 More
Middlebrooks, Donald M. Fla, S 8 5 More
Seitz, Patricia A. Fla, S 6 6 More
Magnus-Stinson, Jane Elizabeth Ind, S 6 6 More
Bataillon, Joseph F. Nebraska 6 6 More
Ishii, Anthony W. Cal, E 5 9 More
Hinkle, Robert Lewis Fla, N 5 9 More
Lenard, Joan A. Fla, S 5 9 More
Panner, Owen Murphy Oregon 5 9 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 7 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of white collar crime convictions per capita, while the remaining 5 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Lance M. Africk in the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) ranked 1st with 12 convicted in white collar crime convictions.

  • Judge Micaela Alvarez in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 2nd with 11 convicted in white collar crime convictions.

  • Judge David C. Norton in the District of South Carolina ranked 3rd with 10 convicted in white collar crime convictions.

Report Generated: February 20, 2013
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