Government Regulatory Convictions for December 2023

Number Latest Month 49
Percent Change from previous month 88.5
Percent Change from 1 year ago -6.2
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 December 2023 the government reported 49 new government regulatory convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 88.5 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 (-6.2%). 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 48.7 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 29.6 percent instead of 48.7 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

  • Copyright Violations

  • 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 December 2023 was for "Money Laundering-Other", accounting for 28.6 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Money Laundering-Drug" (24.5%), "Other-Regulatory Offenses" (20.4%), "Counterfeiting and Forgery" (8.2%), "Customs-Currency Violations" (8.2%), "Export Enforcement General" (6.1%), "Contraband Cigarettes-Trafficking in" (2%), "Customs-Duty Violations" (2%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for government regulatory convictions in December 2023 was FBI accounting for 22 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of government regulatory convictions were: DHS (20% ), IRS (14%), DEA (12%), SecServ (6%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In December 2023, 6 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 December the most frequently cited lead charge was Title U.S.C Section involving "Other US Code Section". This was the lead charge for 16.7 percent of all magistrate convictions in December.

Government Regulatory Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In December 2023, 43 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during December 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 December.

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 December 2023.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 16 1 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 6 2 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 3 3 More
08 USC 1326 - Reentry of deported alien 2 4 More
18 USC 472 - Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities 2 4 More
18 USC 554 - Smuggling goods from the United States 2 4 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 2 4 More
31 USC 5332 - Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States 2 4 More
18 USC 473 - Dealing in counterfeit obligations or securities 1 9 More
18 USC 1542 - False statement in application and use of passport 1 9 More
18 USC 2342 - Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts 1 9 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 1 9 More
22 USC 2778 - Control of arms exports and imports 1 9 More
36 CFR 2.10b10 - Camp outside of designated sites or areas 1 9 More
36 CFR 261.10b - Occupying or residing on National Forest land for residence purposes 1 9 More
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions

  • "Laundering of monetary instruments" (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "RICO - prohibited activities" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 371.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In December 2023 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government obtained 15.5 government regulatory convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of government regulatory convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of convictions of this type last month are shown in Table 3.

Judicial District Count Rank  
Minnesota 7 1 More
Puer Rico 6 2 More
Texas, S 6 2 More
N. Y., S 5 4 More
Fla, S 3 5 More
Cal, C 2 6 More
Cal, S 2 6 More
Ga, N 1 8 More
Idaho 1 8 More
Iowa, S 1 8 More
Maine 1 8 More
Mass 1 8 More
Mo, E 1 8 More
N. J. 1 8 More
N. Y., E 1 8 More
New Hamp 1 8 More
Texas, E 1 8 More
Utah 1 8 More
Wash, E 1 8 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • The District of Minnesota — with 7 convictions — was the most active during December 2023.

  • The District of Puerto Rico and Southern District of Texas (Houston) 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 December 2023 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank  
Magnuson, Paul Arthur Minnesota 6 1 More
Delgado-Colon, Aida M. Puer Rico 6 1 More
Olvera, Jose Rolando, Jr. Texas, S 2 3 More
Tucker, Josephine Staton Cal, C 1 4 More
Dimitrouleas, William P. Fla, S 1 4 More
Martinez, Jose E. Fla, S 1 4 More
Rosenberg, Robin Lee Fla, S 1 4 More
Anand, Justin S. Ga, N 1 4 More
Torresen, Nancy Maine 1 4 More
Sorokin, Leo T. Mass 1 4 More
Frank, Donovan W. Minnesota 1 4 More
Shipp, Michael A. N. J. 1 4 More
Azrack, Joan Marie N. Y., E 1 4 More
Cote, Denise L. N. Y., S 1 4 More
Kaplan, Lewis A. N. Y., S 1 4 More
Failla, Katherine Polk N. Y., S 1 4 More
Torres, Analisa Nadine N. Y., S 1 4 More
Broderick, Vernon Speede N. Y., S 1 4 More
Laplante, Joseph Normand New Hamp 1 4 More
Mazzant, Amos L. Texas, E 1 4 More
Rosenthal, Lee Hyman Texas, S 1 4 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 1 4 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 1 4 More
Rodriguez, Fernando, Jr. Texas, S 1 4 More
Nielson, Howard Curtis, Jr. Utah 1 4 More
Rice, Thomas Owen Wash, E 1 4 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

All 26 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of government regulatory convictions. (Because of ties, there were a total of 26 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Paul Arthur Magnuson in the District of Minnesota and Aida M. Delgado-Colon in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 1st with 6 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

  • Judge Jose Rolando Olvera, Jr. in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 3rd with 2 convicted in government regulatory convictions.

Report Generated: February 7, 2024
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