Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Government Regulatory Convictions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2023 the government reported 54 new government regulatory convictions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 15.6 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for government regulatory-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 down (-21.1%).
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 52.3 percent from levels reported in 2018.
The dip 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
government regulatory convictions is 24.3 percent instead of 52.3 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 Government Regulatory Convictions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in government regulatory convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of government regulatory 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 government regulatory, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
Case types within government regulatory are
Counterfeiting and Forgery
Customs Violations - Duty
Customs Violations - Currency
Energy Pricing and Related Fraud
Health and Safety Violations - Employees
Health and Safety Violations - General Public
Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes
Energy Violations - Nuclear Waste Issues
Money Laundering/Structuring (Narcotics)
Money Laundering/Structuring (Other)
Export Enforcement General
Other Government Regulatory Offenses
The largest number of convictions of these matters in August 2023 was for "Money Laundering-Other", accounting for 29.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Money Laundering-Drug" (18.5%), "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (16.7%), "Other-Regulatory Offenses" (16.7%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (11.1%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (5.6%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for government regulatory convictions in August 2023
was FBI accounting for 26 percent of convictions.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory convictions were:
DHS (22% ), SecServ (15%), DEA (6%), Justice Other (6%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency
Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2023, 5 defendants in government regulatory 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.
In the magistrate courts in August the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title U.S.C Section involving "Other US Code Section". This was the lead charge
for 20 percent of all magistrate convictions in August.
Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2023, 49 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 government regulatory matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2023.
The District of Puerto Rico — with 5 convictions — was the most active during August 2023.
The Southern District of New York (Manhattan) and District of New Hampshire 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 government regulatory crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during August 2023 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 21 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory convictions , while the remaining 12 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 33 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judges Joseph Normand Laplante in the District of New Hampshire and Aida M. Delgado-Colon in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 1st with 4 convicted in government regulatory convictions.
Judge Jose Rolando Olvera, Jr. in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 3 convicted in government regulatory convictions.