Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Official Corruption Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2023 the government reported 42 new official corruption convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 5 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for official corruption-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 2023 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of convictions was only slightly down (-0.5%).
Convictions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are down 5.2 percent from levels reported in 2018.
The leveling out in
these cases is partly related to increases in the matters filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. If magistrate cases
are excluded and only Federal District Court cases are counted, the overall decrease in
official corruption convictions is 3.2 percent instead of 5.2 percent.
The evidence suggests that part of the difference may be the result of improvements in the recording of the magistrate cases
by the Justice Department.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Official Corruption Convictions
The leveling out from the levels five years ago in official corruption convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of official corruption 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.
Within the broad category of official corruption, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within official corruption are
Federal Corruption - Procurement
Federal Corruption - Program
Federal Corruption - Law Enforcement
Federal Corruption - Other
Other Public Corruption
The largest number of convictions of these matters in August 2023 was for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Local", accounting for 26.2 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Law Enforcement" (23.8%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Other" (19%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Program" (11.9%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-State" (9.5%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Procurement" (4.8%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Other" (4.8%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for official corruption convictions in August 2023
was FBI accounting for 50 percent of convictions.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of official corruption convictions were:
Postal (10% ), Defense (7%), Justice Other (7%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency
Official Corruption Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2023, no defendants in official corruption cases for these matters were convicted 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.
Official Corruption Convictions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2023, 42 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during August 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 August.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of official corruption matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2023.
The Southern District of New York (Manhattan) — with 12 convictions — was the most active during August 2023.
The Middle District of Florida (Tampa), Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), District of New Mexico and Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton) 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 official corruption crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during August 2023 are shown in Table 4.
All 26 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of official corruption convictions. (Because of ties, there were a total of 26 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 1st with 5 convicted in official corruption convictions.
Judges Maria Valdez in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), Joel McElroy Carson, III in the District of New Mexico and Laura Taylor Swain in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) ranked 2nd with 2 convicted in official corruption convictions.