White Collar Crime Convictions for October 2012

Number Latest Month 582
Percent Change from previous month -23.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -14.3
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 2.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) 0.0
Table 1: Criminal White Collar Crime Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during October 2012 the government reported 582 new white collar crime convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 23.7% 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 (-14.3 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 2.9 percent from levels reported in 2007.

The leveling out 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 October 2012 was for "Fraud-Other", accounting for 14.4 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Fraud-Financial Institution" (13.1%), "Fraud-Mortgage" (11.2%), " Fraud-Federal Program" (10.3%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Other" (9.3%), "Fraud-Tax" (8.2%), "Fraud-Health Care" (7.9%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (6.9%), "Fraud-Other Business" (5.5%), "Fraud-Securities" (2.6%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for white collar crime convictions in October 2012 was FBI accounting for 33 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of white collar crime convictions were: SecServ (17% ), IRS (10%), Postal (8%), 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 October 2012, 17 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 70.6 percent of all magistrate convictions in October.

White Collar Crime Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In October 2012, 565 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during October 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 October.

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 October 2012.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 66 1 4 3 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 58 2 1 1 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 51 3 2 2 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 49 4 5 4 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 40 5 3 16 More
18 USC 1029 - Fraud and related activity - access devices 38 6 6 6 More
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 36 7 7 7 More
18 USC 1347 - Health Care Fraud 29 8 9 10 More
18 USC 1028 - Fraud and related activity - id documents 25 9 7 5 More
26 USC 7206 - Fraud and False statements 13 10 11 8 More
42 USC 408 - Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties 13 10 12 14 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 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "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.

  • Ranked 3rd was "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.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions—up 48.3 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—468 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 Health Care Fraud (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1347 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 31.6 percent—was for convictions 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 obtained 220.8 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  
Fla, S 1,062 59 1 1 1 More
Nebraska 802 12 2 30 30 More
Ill, S 659 7 3 52 79 More
Montana 615 5 4 69 45 More
Penn, E 567 27 5 5 8 More
Virg, W 565 10 6 67 51 More
Ala, M 542 5 7 76 89 More
Ohio, N 515 25 8 18 9 More
Mo, E 454 11 9 10 15 More
New Hamp 453 5 10 74 57 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of Florida (Miami)—with 1062 convictions as compared with 220.8 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during October 2012. The Southern District of Florida (Miami) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of Nebraska ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland), now ranked 8th , and Nebraska at 2nd In the same order, these districts ranked 18th and 30th one year ago and 9th and 30th 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— 150.9 percent—was Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland). Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 575 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 convictions— 19.6 percent—was Nebraska .  But over the past five years, New Hampshire showed the largest drop— 35 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 October 2012 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Middlebrooks, Donald M. Fla, S 8 1 More
Scola, Robert Nichols, Jr. Fla, S 8 1 More
Adams, John R. Ohio, N 6 3 More
Black, Timothy Seymour Ohio, S 6 3 More
Schell, Richard A. Texas, E 6 3 More
Dimitrouleas, William P. Fla, S 5 6 More
Hamilton, Jean Constance Mo, E 5 6 More
Polster, Dan A. Ohio, N 5 6 More
Zouhary, Jack Ohio, N 5 6 More
Cohill, Maurice Blanchard, Jr. Penn, W 5 6 More
Norton, David C. S Car 5 6 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 4 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Donald M. Middlebrooks in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) and Robert Nichols Scola, Jr. in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) ranked 1st with 8 convicted in white collar crime convictions.

  • Judges John R. Adams in the Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland), Timothy Seymour Black in the Southern District of Ohio (Cincinnati) and Richard A. Schell in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 3rd with 6 convicted in white collar crime convictions.

Report Generated: February 6, 2013
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