White Collar Crime Prosecutions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 598
Percent Change from previous month -7.4
Percent Change from 1 year ago -20.7
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 1.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -2.5
Table 1: Criminal White Collar Crime Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 598 new white collar crime prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 7.4% 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-20.7 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 1.8 percent from levels reported in 2007.

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 October 2012 was for "Fraud-Financial Institution", accounting for 14.2 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Fraud-Federal Program" (12.5%), "Fraud-Other" ( 12.5%), "Fraud-Health Care" (12%), "Fraud-Tax" (11.2%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (8.9%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Other" (6.5%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (5.2%), "Fraud-Other Business" (4%), "Fraud-Advance Fee Schemes" (2.3%), "Fraud-Computer" (2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for white collar crime prosecutions in October 2012 was FBI accounting for 37 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of white collar crime referrals were: IRS (14% ), SecServ (9%), Postal (8%), DHS (7%). 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 October 2012, 84 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 October 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 19 percent of all magistrate filings in October.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud" (17.9%), "18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records" (15.5%), "18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles" (6%), " 18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy" (6%).

White Collar Crime Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 514 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October there were an additional 54 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 October.

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 October 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 67 1 1 4 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 58 2 4 15 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 53 3 2 1 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 44 4 3 5 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 35 5 7 6 More
18 USC 1347 - Health Care Fraud 34 6 9 8 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 33 7 5 3 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 32 8 6 7 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 22 9 8 2 More
18 USC 287 - False, fictitious or fraudulent claims 17 10 15 9 More
Table 2: Top charges filed

  • "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 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "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 4 a year 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 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in prosecutions—up 61.7 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 287 that involves " False, fictitious or fraudulent claims ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—229.1 percent—was registered for prosecutions 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 prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 33.2 percent—was Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in prosecutions— 37.6 percent—was for filings where the lead charge was " Fraud and related activity - id documents " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In October 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 222 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  
N Dakota 2,412 13 1 84 77 More
Fla, S 1,187 66 2 1 1 More
Ala, S 872 6 3 22 33 More
N Car, W 856 21 4 32 22 More
Ala, M 650 6 5 38 70 More
Tenn, M 592 11 6 75 67 More
Mo, E 495 12 7 16 9 More
Ala, N 476 11 8 45 30 More
Wash, E 408 5 9 84 78 More
Miss, S 391 6 10 26 10 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The District of North Dakota—with 2412 prosecutions as compared with 222 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012.

  • The Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 2nd. The Southern District of Florida (Miami) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis), now ranked 7th , and Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) at 3rd In the same order, these districts ranked 16th and 22nd one year ago and 9th 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— 175 percent—was North Dakota . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 173.3 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— 50 percent—was Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).  This was the same district that had the largest increase— 69.8 percent—when compared with five years ago.

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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Whitney, Frank DeArmon N Car, W 17 1 More
Hovland, Daniel L. N Dakota 9 2 More
O'Meara, John Corbett Mich, E 8 3 More
Mann, Roanne L. N. Y., E 8 3 More
Dimitrouleas, William P. Fla, S 7 5 More
Seitz, Patricia A. Fla, S 7 5 More
Cooke, Marcia G. Fla, S 7 5 More
Harmon, Melinda Texas, S 7 5 More
Rosenthal, Lee Hyman Texas, S 6 9 More
Smith, Charles Lynwood, Jr. Ala, N 5 10 More
Snow, G. Murray Arizona 5 10 More
Lenard, Joan A. Fla, S 5 10 More
Altonaga, Cecilia M. Fla, S 5 10 More
Williams, Kathleen Mary Fla, S 5 10 More
Scola, Robert Nichols, Jr. Fla, S 5 10 More
Hamilton, Jean Constance Mo, E 5 10 More
Seybert, Joanna N. Y., E 5 10 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 11 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 6 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 17 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Frank DeArmon Whitney in the Western District of North Carolina (Asheville) ranked 1st with 17 defendants in white collar crime cases.

  • Judge Daniel L. Hovland in the District of North Dakota ranked 2nd with 9 defendants in white collar crime cases.

  • Judges John Corbett O'Meara in the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) and Roanne L. Mann in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) ranked 3rd with 8 defendants in white collar crime cases.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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