Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court)
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court)
Table 1. Criminal Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during August 2020 the government reported 51 new prosecutions for these matters. Those cases were referred by the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 25 percent over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged 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 2020 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-42.6%).
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 75.2 percent from levels reported in 2015.
Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Prosecutions
The decrease from the levels five years ago in prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of 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.
Cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in August 2020 was for "Fraud-Tax", accounting for 47.1 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Withheld by Govt from TRAC (FOIA challen" (33.3%), "Fraud-Computer" (3.9%).
See Figure 2.
Figure 2. Specific Types of Prosecutions
Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In August 2020, 3 defendants in 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 August the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 18 U.S.C Section 1030 involving "Fraud and related activity - computers". This was the lead charge
for 66.7 percent of all magistrate filings in August.
Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In August 2020, 48 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 prosecutions of matters
filed in U.S. District Court during August 2020 referred by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Central District of California (Los Angeles) — with 7 prosecutions — was the most active during August 2020.
The Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta), Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) 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 crime cases of this type during August 2020 are shown in Table 4.
All 30 of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of filings. (Because of ties, there were a total of 30 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Josephine Staton Tucker in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) ranked 1st with 4 defendants in cases.
Judge Justin S. Anand in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) ranked 2nd with 3 defendants in cases.
Judges Virginia A. Phillips in the Central District of California (Los Angeles), Sara Lee Ellis in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), Malachy E. Mannion in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton) and Howard Curtis Nielson, Jr. in the District of Utah ranked 3rd with 2 defendants in cases.