Official Corruption Prosecutions for November 2018

Number Latest Month 33
Percent Change from previous month -8.3
Percent Change from 1 year ago -19.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Official Corruption Prosecutions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during November 2018 the government reported 33 new official corruption prosecutions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 8.3 percent over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with 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 2018 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of filings was down (-19.9%). 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 34.7 percent from levels reported in 2013.

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Official Corruption Prosecutions

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

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

  • State Corruption

  • Local Corruption

  • Other Public Corruption

The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in November 2018 was for "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Procurement", accounting for 27.3 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Corruption(Govt Off)-State" (24.2%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Local" (15.2%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Law Enforcement" (9.1%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Other" (9.1%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Fed Program" (9.1%), "Corruption(Govt Off)-Other" (6.1%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for official corruption prosecutions in November 2018 was FBI accounting for 48 percent of prosecutions referred. Other agencies with substantial numbers of official corruption referrals were: DHS (24% ), IRS (9%), Postal (9%), Justice Other (6%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3. Prosecutions by Investigative Agency

Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In November 2018, 3 defendants in official corruption 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 November the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 18 U.S.C Section 241 involving "Conspiracy against rights". This was the lead charge for 100 percent of all magistrate filings in November.

Official Corruption Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts

In November 2018, 30 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during November there were an additional 4 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 November.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of official corruption matters filed in U.S. District Court during November 2018.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 11 1 More
18 USC 201 - Bribery of public officials and witnesses 6 2 More
18 USC 666 - Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds 4 3 More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 2 4 More
18 USC 287 - False, fictitious or fraudulent claims 1 5 More
18 USC 1163 - Embezzlement and theft from Indian Tribal organiza 1 5 More
18 USC 1201 - Kidnaping 1 5 More
18 USC 1341 - Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles 1 5 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 1 5 More
18 USC 1344 - Bank Fraud 1 5 More
18 USC 1349 - Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy 1 5 More
18 USC 1503 - Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally 1 5 More
18 USC 1512 - Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant 1 5 More
18 USC 1709 - Theft of mail matter by officer or employee 1 5 More
18 USC 1711 - Misappropriation of postal funds 1 5 More
Table 2. Top Charges Filed

  • "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 371) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Bribery of public officials and witnesses" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 201.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 666.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In November 2018 the Justice Department said the government brought 12.5 official corruption prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of official corruption 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  
N. Y., E 9 1 More
Conn 7 2 More
Cal, C 4 3 More
La, E 2 4 More
Mich, W 2 4 More
Minnesota 2 4 More
Arizona 1 7 More
Colorado 1 7 More
Ga, N 1 7 More
Mass 1 7 More
Ohio, N 1 7 More
Okla, N 1 7 More
Penn, W 1 7 More
S Car 1 7 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) — with 9 prosecutions — was the most active during November 2018.

  • The District of Connecticut ranked 2nd.

  • Central District of California (Los Angeles) is now ranking 3rd.

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 of this type during November 2018 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Hall, Janet C. Conn 7 1 More
Bianco, Joseph Frank N. Y., E 7 1 More
Lemelle, Ivan L. R. La, E 2 3 More
Collins, Raner Christercunean Arizona 1 4 More
Hatter, Terry J., Jr. Cal, C 1 4 More
Walter, John F. Cal, C 1 4 More
Tucker, Josephine Staton Cal, C 1 4 More
Mastroianni, Mark Gerald Mass 1 4 More
Jonker, Robert James Mich, W 1 4 More
Maloney, Paul Lewis Mich, W 1 4 More
Tunheim, John R. Minnesota 1 4 More
Nelson, Susan Richard Minnesota 1 4 More
Amon, Carol Bagley N. Y., E 1 4 More
Weinstein, Jack Bertrand N. Y., E 1 4 More
Boyko, Christopher A. Ohio, N 1 4 More
Frizzell, Gregory Kent Okla, N 1 4 More
Schwab, Arthur J. Penn, W 1 4 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

All 17 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of official corruption filings. (Because of ties, there were a total of 17 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Janet C. Hall in the District of Connecticut and Joseph Frank Bianco in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) ranked 1st with 7 defendants in official corruption cases.

  • Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle in the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans) ranked 3rd with 2 defendants in official corruption cases.

Report Generated: January 11, 2019
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