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October 30, 2018

‘Gun-Shy’: How Federal Prosecutors Forgot Silicon Valley
By Matt Drange

The number of white-collar cases prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California has plunged from a peak of 354 in 1995 to 72 in fiscal 2018. And the prosecutor’s office in recent years has developed a reputation for timidity. The question now is whether the incoming U.S. attorney, David Anderson, who is awaiting Senate confirmation, will shake things up. White-collar prosecutions are down nationally as well, thanks partly to a backlash over the aggressive prosecutions of Enron and its accounting firm Arthur Andersen. But the drop-off in cases in the San Francisco office has been much more steep. In the 1990s, the office accounted for 2.5% of all white-collar cases nationally. But in the past 10 years, that figure has dropped nearly in half to 1.3%, according to government data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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