About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An illegal alien who is caught while negotiating a drug deal, for example, might be indicted for drug dealing, numerous conspiracy offenses, as well as immigration violations. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on narcotics or illegal immigrants along the southwest border.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are those "lead charges" which resulted in prosecutions or convictions either in the most recent month or most recently completed fiscal year. Click on the statute of interest from the following table to obtain the complete text as well as links to exclusive TRAC Reports on these frequently cited lead charges.


U.S. Code Description
07 USC 02024 Food Stamp Program - Violations and Enforcement
07 USC 02156 Animal Fighting Venture Prohibited
08 USC 01253 Alien hindering his/her removal from the US
08 USC 01324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
08 USC 01324a Unlawful employment of aliens
08 USC 01325 Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
15 USC 00001 Trusts, etc., in restraint of trade illegal; penal
15 USC 00077 Discrimination against Neutral Americans in time of war
15 USC 00078j Use/employ any manipulative/deceptive device/ in contravention
15 USC 00645 Aid to Small Businesses - Offenses and penalties
15 USC 01644 Fraudulent use of credit cards; penalties
15 USC 02615 Toxic Substances Control - Penalties
16 USC 00470 Archeological Resource Protection
16 USC 00668 Bald and golden eagles
16 USC 00703 Taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds
16 USC 00704 When/how migratory birds may be taken, killed,poss
16 USC 01538 Endangered Species - Prohibitive acts
16 USC 03372 Illegally Taken Fish & Wildlife - prohibited acts
18 USC 00003 Accessory after the fact
18 USC 00004 Misprision of Felony
18 USC 00007 Special Maritime/Territorial Jurisdiction of US
18 USC 00013 Laws of States Adopted in Federal jurisdiction
18 USC 00019 Petty Offense Defined
18 USC 00032 Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities
18 USC 00048 Depiction of Animal Cruelty
18 USC 00081 Arson in special maritime and territorial jurisdic
18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
18 USC 00113 Assaults within maritime and territorial jurisdictions
18 USC 00115 Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official
18 USC 00117 Domestic assault by an habitual offender
18 USC 00152 Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; etc
18 USC 00157 Bankruptcy Fraud
18 USC 00201 Bribery of public officials and witnesses
18 USC 00208 Acts affecting a personal financial interest
18 USC 00215 Receipt of commissions or gifts for procuring loan
18 USC 00228 Fail to pay legal child support obligations
18 USC 00231 Civil Disorders
18 USC 00241 Conspiracy against rights
18 USC 00242 Deprivation of rights under color of law
18 USC 00245 Federally protected activities
18 USC 00247 Damage to religious prop; obstruct religious excer
18 USC 00248 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance
18 USC 00249 Hate crime acts
18 USC 00286 Conspiracy to defraud the Government claims
18 USC 00287 False, fictitious or fraudulent claims
18 USC 00351 Assassination/kidnapping certain officials
18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
18 USC 00373 Solicitation to commit a crime of violence
18 USC 00401 Power of Court
18 USC 00402 Contempts constituting crimes
18 USC 00471 Obligations or securities of United States
18 USC 00472 Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities
18 USC 00473 Dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities
18 USC 00500 Money orders
18 USC 00510 Forging endorsements on Treasury checks, bonds se
18 USC 00513 Securities of the States and private entities
18 USC 00514 Fictitious Obligations
18 USC 00542 Entry of goods by means of false statements
18 USC 00545 Smuggling goods into the United States
18 USC 00553 Import/exportation of stolen motor vehicles, etc
18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
18 USC 00656 Theft/embezzlement/misapplication by bank off, emp
18 USC 00657 Lending, credit and insurance institutions
18 USC 00659 Interstate or foreign shipments by carriers
18 USC 00661 Embezzelement/theft in special jurisdictions
18 USC 00664 Theft or embezzlement from employee benefit plan
18 USC 00665 Theft or embezzlement from employment/trning funds
18 USC 00666 Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds
18 USC 00668 Theft of major artwork
18 USC 00669 Theft/Embezzlement - Health Care
18 USC 00701 Official badges, id cards, other insignia
18 USC 00704 Military medals or decorations
18 USC 00751 Escape - Prisoners in custody
18 USC 00752 Instigating or assisting escape
18 USC 00758 High speed flight from immigration checkpoint
18 USC 00798 Disclosure of classified information
18 USC 00842 Explosives - Importation, manufacture, etc
18 USC 00844 Explosives - Importation and storage of explosives
18 USC 00846 Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary
18 USC 00871 Threats against President and successors
18 USC 00875 Interstate Communications
18 USC 00876 Mailing threatening communications
18 USC 00911 False personification - Citizen of the US
18 USC 00912 False personification - Officer or employee of US
18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
18 USC 00923 Firearms; Licensing
18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
18 USC 00930 Possession of firearms/dangerous weapons in federal facility
18 USC 00951 Agents of foreign governments
18 USC 00956 Conspire to kill/kidnap/maim person or damage property foreign country
18 USC 00970 Protection of property occupied by foreign governm
18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
18 USC 01012 Fraud - HUD transactions
18 USC 01014 Fraud - Loan and credit applications etc
18 USC 01015 Fraud - Natzation, citizenship, alien registry
18 USC 01028 Fraud and related activity - id documents
18 USC 01028A Aggravated Identity Theft
18 USC 01029 Fraud and related activity - access devices
18 USC 01030 Fraud and related activity - computers
18 USC 01031 Making fraud against the United States
18 USC 01035 False claims relating to health care matters
18 USC 01036 Entry by false pretenses to any property, vessel or aircraft of the US
18 USC 01038 False Information and Hoaxes
18 USC 01040 Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits
18 USC 01073 Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony
18 USC 01111 Murder
18 USC 01112 Manslaughter
18 USC 01113 Attempt to commit murder or manslaughter
18 USC 01114 Protection of officers and employees of US
18 USC 01115 Misconduct or neglect of ship officers
18 USC 01153 Offenses committed within Indian country
18 USC 01163 Embezzlement and theft from Indian Tribal organiza
18 USC 01167 Theft from gaming establishments on Indian lands
18 USC 01201 Kidnaping
18 USC 01203 Kidnapping - Hostage taking
18 USC 01204 International parental kidnapping
18 USC 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
18 USC 01342 Mail Fraud - Fictitious name or address
18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
18 USC 01346 Scheme or artifice to defraud
18 USC 01347 Health Care Fraud
18 USC 01348 Securities Fraud
18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
18 USC 01361 Malicious Mischief - Govrnmt property or contracts
18 USC 01363 Buildings or property within special maritime/territorial jurisdiction
18 USC 01365 Tampering with consumer products
18 USC 01382 Entering military, naval, or Coast Guard property
18 USC 01425 Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw
18 USC 01462 Importation of transportation of obscene matters
18 USC 01466 Business of selling/transferring obscene materials
18 USC 01466A Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of c
18 USC 01470 Transfer of obscene materials to minors
18 USC 01503 Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally
18 USC 01505 Obstruction of proceedings before departments, etc
18 USC 01511 Obstruction of State or local law enforcement
18 USC 01512 Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
18 USC 01516 Obstruction of Federal audit
18 USC 01519 Destruct, alter, falsify records in fed. investigations and bankruptcy
18 USC 01542 False statement in application and use of passport
18 USC 01543 Forgery or false use of passport
18 USC 01544 Misuse of passport
18 USC 01546 Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
18 USC 01581 Peonage; obstructing enforcement
18 USC 01589 Forced Labor
18 USC 01590 Trafficking w/respect to slavery
18 USC 01591 Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion
18 USC 01621 Perjury generally
18 USC 01623 False declarations before grand jury or court
18 USC 01700 Desertion of mails
18 USC 01701 Obstruction of mails generally
18 USC 01703 Delay or destruction of mail or newspapers
18 USC 01704 Postal keys or locks stolen or reproduced
18 USC 01705 Destruction of letter boxes or mail
18 USC 01707 Theft of property used by Postal Service
18 USC 01708 Theft or receipt of stolen mail matter generally
18 USC 01709 Theft of mail matter by officer or employee
18 USC 01711 Misappropriation of postal funds
18 USC 01752 Temporary residence and office of President, etc.
18 USC 01791 Providing or possessing contraband in prison
18 USC 01792 Prisons - Mutiny and riot prohibited
18 USC 01801 Video Voyerism
18 USC 01841 Protection of unborn children
18 USC 01852 Public lands - Timber removed or transported
18 USC 01855 Public lands - Timber set afire
18 USC 01919 False statement - unemployment comp for Fed ser
18 USC 01920 False statement - Fed employees compensation
18 USC 01951 Hobbs Act
18 USC 01952 Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport
18 USC 01955 Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses
18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
18 USC 01957 Monetary transactions w/property from unlawful act
18 USC 01958 Interstate commerce facilities - murder for hire
18 USC 01959 Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity
18 USC 01960 Prohibition of illegal money transmitting business
18 USC 01961 RICO - definitions
18 USC 01962 RICO - prohibited activities
18 USC 01963 RICO - criminal penalties
18 USC 02111 Robbery/burglary - Special jurisdiction
18 USC 02112 Robbery - Personal property of United States
18 USC 02113 Bank robbery and incidental crimes
18 USC 02114 Mail, money, or other property of United States
18 USC 02115 Robbery - Post office
18 USC 02118 Robberies/burglaries w/controlled substances
18 USC 02119 Carjacking
18 USC 02197 Seamen - misuse of Federal certificate, etc
18 USC 02199 Stowaways on vessels or aircraft
18 USC 02237 Criminal Sanction for Failure to heave to or provide false information
18 USC 02241 Aggravated sexual abuse
18 USC 02242 Sexual abuse
18 USC 02243 Sexual abuse of a minor or ward
18 USC 02244 Abusive sexual contact
18 USC 02250 Fail to register as sex offender after traveling interstate commerce
18 USC 02251 Sexual exploitation of children
18 USC 02251A Selling or buying children
18 USC 02252 Material involving sexual exploitation of minors
18 USC 02252A Activity relating material constituting/containing chil
18 USC 02256 Sexual exploitation/other abuse of children
18 USC 02260 Child exploitation
18 USC 02261 Interstate domestic violence
18 USC 02261A Stalking
18 USC 02311 Stolen property - Definitions
18 USC 02312 Transportation of stolen vehicles
18 USC 02313 Sale or receipt of stolen vehicles
18 USC 02314 Transportation of stolen goods, etc
18 USC 02318 Trafficking in counterfeit labels for records/etc
18 USC 02319 Criminal infringement of a copyright
18 USC 02320 Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services
18 USC 02321 Trafficking in certain motor vehicles or parts
18 USC 02332 Terrorism - Criminal penalties
18 USC 02332f Bombings of Places of Public Use
18 USC 02339A Providing material support to terrorists
18 USC 02339B Provide material support to foreign terrorist orgs
18 USC 02342 Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts
18 USC 02384 Seditious conspiracy
18 USC 02421 Transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes
18 USC 02422 Transport for sex - Coercion and enticement
18 USC 02423 Transportation of minors for sexual activity
18 USC 02511 Interception/disclosure of communications
18 USC 03048 Commitment to another district; removal--Rule 40
18 USC 03144 Release or detention of a material witness
18 USC 03146 Penalty for failure to appear
18 USC 03148 Sanctions for violation of a release
18 USC 03181 Extradition
18 USC 03184 Fugitives from Foreign Country to United States
18 USC 03565 Revocation of probation
18 USC 03583 Term of supervised release after imprisonment
18 USC 03605 Transfer of probation jurisdiction
18 USC 03606 Arrest and return of a probationer
18 USC 03665 Firearms possessed by convicted felons
19 USC 01459 Reporting requirements for individuals
21 USC 00331 Fed Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act - Prohibited acts
21 USC 00333 Fed Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act - Penalties
21 USC 00352 Misbranded Drugs and Devices
21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
21 USC 00843 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C
21 USC 00844 Penalty for simple possession
21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
21 USC 00856 Establishment for manufacturing operations
21 USC 00860 Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a
21 USC 00863 Drug paraphernalia
21 USC 00952 Importation of controlled substances
21 USC 00959 Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo
21 USC 00960 Prohibited acts A
21 USC 00963 Attempt and conspiracy
22 USC 02778 Control of arms exports and imports
26 USC 05841 Registration of firearms
26 USC 05845 Tax on Making Firearms
26 USC 05861 Tax on Making Firearms - Prohibited acts
26 USC 07201 Attempt to evade or defeat tax
26 USC 07202 Willful failure to collect or pay over tax
26 USC 07203 Willful failure to file return, supply information
26 USC 07206 Fraud and False statements
26 USC 07212 Attempts to interfere with admin of tax laws
29 USC 00501 Fiduciary responsibility - officers of labor orgs
29 USC 00666 Occupational safety and health - penalties
31 USC 05313 Reports on domestic coins and currency transaction
31 USC 05316 Exporting and importing monetary instruments
31 USC 05324 Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir
31 USC 05331 Report relating to coin/currency received in nonfinance trade/business
31 USC 05332 Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
33 USC 01311 Effluent limitations - Water Pollution
33 USC 01319 Water Pollution - Enforcement
38 USC 00901 VA - Authority to prescribe rules
38 USC 06101 VA Benefits - Misappropriation by fiduciaries
40 USC 05104 Unlawful Activities
42 USC 00408 Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties
42 USC 01383a Fraudulent acts; penalties; restitution
42 USC 01396 Medicaid - Appropriations
42 USC 03631 Fair Housing, violations, etc.
42 USC 07413 Air Pollution Prevention and Control - Fed strd
46 USC 70503 Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US
46 USC 70506 Penalties
47 USC 00223 Obscene or harrassing telephone calls
49 USC 32703 Preventing Tampering (Odometers)
49 USC 46314 Entering aircraft or airport area in violation of security
49 USC 46503 Interference with Security Screening Personnel
49 USC 46504 Interference with flight crew members and attendants
49 USC 46506 Application of Criminal Laws to Acts on Aircraft
49 USC 46507 Airlines - False Information and Threats
50 USC 00797 Control of Subversive Activities
50 USC 01701 War and National Defense - Unusual and extraordinary threat
50 USC 01705 International Emergency Economic Powers


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