Prosecutions for December 2017

Referring Agency: Social Security Administration

Number Latest Month 25
Percent Change from previous month -39.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago -1.0
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during December 2017 the government reported 25 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Social Security Administration. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 39 percent over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged 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 2017 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was only slightly down (-1%). 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 29.3 percent from levels reported in 2012.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Prosecutions

The decrease from the levels five years ago in prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of 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.

Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in December 2017 was for "Fraud-Federal Program", accounting for 32 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Fraud-Other" (16%), "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (16%), "Fraud-Identity Theft-Aggravated" (8%), "Theft-Government Property" (8%), "Fraud-Computer" (4%), "Fraud-Securities" (4%), "Government Property-Crimes Against" (4%), "Other Criminal Prosecutions" (4%), "Violence-Other" (4%). See Figure 2.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions

Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2017, 3 defendants in 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 115 involving "Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official". This was the lead charge for 33.3 percent of all magistrate filings in December.

Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2017, 22 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December there were an additional 2 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 matters filed in U.S. District Court during December 2017 referred by the Social Security Administration.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 641 - Public money, property or records 12 1 More
18 USC 1028A - Aggravated Identity Theft 2 2 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 2 2 More
18 USC 1030 - Fraud and related activity - computers 1 4 More
18 USC 3146 - Penalty for failure to appear 1 4 More
42 USC 408 - Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties 1 4 More
42 USC 1383 - Social Security -Procedure for payment of benefits 1 4 More
42 USC 1383a - Fraudulent acts; penalties; restitution 1 4 More
Table 2. Top Charges Filed

  • "Public money, property or records" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 641) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency were the lead charges "Aggravated Identity Theft" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1028 and "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2017 the Justice Department said the government brought 8.9 prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of prosecutions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.

Judicial District Count Rank  
Mo, E 3 1 More
Fla, M 2 2 More
Ill, N 2 2 More
Ala, N 1 4 More
Ark, E 1 4 More
Ark, W 1 4 More
Fla, S 1 4 More
Ga, N 1 4 More
Ind, N 1 4 More
La, M 1 4 More
Mich, W 1 4 More
N. Y., S 1 4 More
Nevada 1 4 More
Ohio, S 1 4 More
Okla, E 1 4 More
Oregon 1 4 More
Penn, W 1 4 More
Tenn, W 1 4 More
Texas, W 1 4 More
Wash, E 1 4 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) — with 3 prosecutions — was the most active during December 2017.

  • The Middle District of Florida (Tampa) and Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) ranked 2nd.

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 crime cases of this type during December 2017 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Sippel, Rodney W. Mo, E 2 1 More
Coogler, L. Scott Ala, N 1 2 More
Miller, Brian Stacy Ark, E 1 2 More
Merryday, Steven Douglas Fla, M 1 2 More
Covington, Virginia Maria Hernandez Fla, M 1 2 More
Bloom, Beth Francine Fla, S 1 2 More
Ross, Eleanor Louise Ga, N 1 2 More
Cole, Jeffrey Ill, N 1 2 More
Gilbert, Jeffrey T. Ill, N 1 2 More
Springmann, Theresa Lazar Ind, N 1 2 More
Jackson, Brian Anthony La, M 1 2 More
Maloney, Paul Lewis Mich, W 1 2 More
White, Ronnie Lee Mo, E 1 2 More
Boulware, Richard Franklin, II Nevada 1 2 More
Rice, Walter Herbert Ohio, S 1 2 More
Payne, James H. Okla, E 1 2 More
Aiken, Ann L. Oregon 1 2 More
Hornak, Mark Raymond Penn, W 1 2 More
Lipman, Sheryl Halle Tenn, W 1 2 More
Sparks, Sam Texas, W 1 2 More
Mendoza, Salvador, Jr. Wash, E 1 2 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

All 21 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings. (Because of ties, there were a total of 21 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Rodney W. Sippel in the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) ranked 1st with 2 defendants in cases.

  • Judges L. Scott Coogler in the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham), Brian Stacy Miller in the Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock), Steven Douglas Merryday in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Virginia Maria Hernandez Covington in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Beth Francine Bloom in the Southern District of Florida (Miami), Eleanor Louise Ross in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), Jeffrey Cole in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), Jeffrey T. Gilbert in the ranked 2nd with 1 defendants in cases.

Report Generated: January 24, 2018
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