White Collar Crime Prosecutions for March 2013

Number Latest Month 560
Percent Change from previous month -23.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -13.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -5.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -9.5
Table 1: Criminal White Collar Crime Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during March 2013 the government reported 560 new white collar crime prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 23.5% 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 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 2013 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-13.2 percent). 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 5 percent from levels reported in 2008.

The leveling out 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.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 March 2013 was for "Fraud-Other", accounting for 18.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Fraud-Federal Program" (15%), "Fraud-Tax" (12.3%), " Fraud-Financial Institution" (10%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Other" (10%), "Fraud-Health Care" (8.4%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (7.1%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (3.4%), "Fraud-Other Business" (2.9%), "Fraud-Securities" (2.9%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for white collar crime prosecutions in March 2013 was FBI accounting for 23 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of white collar crime referrals were: SecServ (15% ), IRS (14%), DHS (12%), Postal (6%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency

White Collar Crime Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In March 2013, 93 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 March 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 18.3 percent of all magistrate filings in March.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices" (15.1%), "18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television" (8.6%), "18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records" (7.5%) , "18 USC 513 - Securities of the States and private entities" (5.4%).

White Collar Crime Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In March 2013, 467 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during March there were an additional 126 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 March.

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 March 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 514 - Fictitious Obligations 70 1 70 55 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 49 2 7 6 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 46 3 1 5 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 38 4 5 3 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 38 4 8 4 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 37 6 2 1 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 32 7 3 2 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 32 7 4 10 More
26 USC 7206 - Fraud and False statements 27 9 11 11 More
18 USC 1347 - Health Care Fraud 25 10 9 8 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "Fictitious Obligations" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 514) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Public money, property or records" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 641. "Public money, property or records" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 641 was ranked 7 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 5 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 2266.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 514 that involves " Fictitious Obligations ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—1320 %—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 47.3 percent—was Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1341 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 38.6 %—when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In March 2013 the Justice Department said the government brought 231.8 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.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Virg, W 4,013 71 1 47 62 More
Wyoming 1,764 8 2 76 86 More
La, E 1,124 15 3 41 33 More
W Virg, S 779 6 4 57 67 More
Ala, M 759 7 5 42 80 More
Ala, S 727 5 6 34 39 More
Ill, S 659 7 7 50 55 More
New Hamp 634 7 8 73 73 More
N. Y., S 608 26 9 3 3 More
Utah 560 13 10 66 14 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Western District of Virginia (Roanoke)—with 4013 prosecutions as compared with 231.8 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during March 2013.

  • The District of Wyoming ranked 2nd.

  • Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Southern District of Alabama (Mobile), now ranked 6th , and Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 34th and 41st one year ago and 39th and 33rd 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— 233.3 percent—was Utah . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 347.4 percent—was Western District of Virginia (Roanoke).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of white collar crime prosecutions— 22.7 percent—was Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).  But over the past five years, Utah showed the largest drop— 22.1 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 of this type during March 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Jones, James Parker Virg, W 70 1 203 212 More
Anderson, Joseph Fletcher, Jr. S Car 10 2 74 156 More
Blake, Catherine C. Maryland 9 3 203 - More
Schell, Richard A. Texas, E 7 4 51 156 More
Smith, Walter Scott, Jr. Texas, W 7 4 74 97 More
Karlton, Lawrence K. Cal, E 6 6 158 37 More
Michelson, Laurie Mich, E 6 6 - - More
Mahan, James C. Nevada 6 6 1 - More
Marra, Kenneth A. Fla, S 5 9 20 20 More
Gilbert, John Phil Ill, S 5 9 370 97 More
Roberts, Victoria A. Mich, E 5 9 370 263 More
Voorhees, Richard Lesley N Car, W 5 9 492 - More
Heartfield, Thad Texas, E 5 9 633 - More
Hoyt, Kenneth M. Texas, S 5 9 492 212 More
Nuffer, David Utah 5 9 492 - More
Brinkema, Leonie M. Virg, E 5 9 633 212 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 3 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 13 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 16 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge James Parker Jones in the Western District of Virginia (Roanoke) ranked 1st with 70 defendants in white collar crime cases.

  • Judge Joseph Fletcher Anderson, Jr. in the District of South Carolina ranked 2nd with 10 defendants in white collar crime cases.

  • Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland ranked 3rd with 9 defendants in white collar crime cases.

Report Generated: May 9, 2013
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Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.

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