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Center on Media Crime and Justice at John Jay College
August 11, 2020

DOJ White-Collar Prosecutions Plummet Under Trump
By Crime and Justice News

White-collar prosecutions were down 26-30 percent during President Trump’s first three years in office from the Obama administration’s average, and since the panedemic hit have sunk to record lows, Bloomberg reports. Corporate fines fell 76 percent in the first 20 months of the Trump administration from the last 20 months of the Obama administration. The 30-percent drop comes from data collected from U.S. attorneys’ offices by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, based on when cases are recorded in a prosecutor’s database. Data published by the U.S. attorney offices themselves showed a 26 percent drop, but a Justice Department spokesman said the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section “has achieved record numbers of individual and corporate criminal cases and resolutions over the past three years,” including a 59 percent increase in individuals charged between 2016 and 2019 and a jump of more than a quarter in those convicted. The nationwide U.S. attorney data show a broader slice of the caseload, Bloomberg reported. Columbia University’s John Coffee said one factor in the decrease is the Trump administration’s softening of a policy that had required companies to turn over possible suspects in return for leniency. Now, Coffee said, a compliance plan that it would take “a good lawyer [spending] two nights writing one up” is enough to avoid prosecution.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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