Prosecutions for August 2020

Referring Agency: Internal Revenue Service

Number Latest Month 51
Percent Change from previous month -25.0
Percent Change from 1 year ago -42.6
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Including Magistrate Court)
-75.2
Percent Change from 5 years ago
(Excluding Magistrate Court)
-76.1
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.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

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.

Lead Charge Count Rank  
26 USC 7206 - Fraud and False statements 12 1 More
26 USC 7201 - Attempt to evade or defeat tax 9 2 More
18 USC 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television 4 3 More
26 USC 7202 - Willful failure to collect or pay over tax 3 4 More
18 USC 286 - Conspiracy to defraud the Government claims 1 5 More
18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US 1 5 More
18 USC 1957 - Monetary transactions w/property from unlawful act 1 5 More
26 USC 7203 - Willful failure to file return, supply information 1 5 More
Table 2. Top Charges Filed

  • "Fraud and False statements" (Title 26 U.S.C Section 7206) was the most frequent recorded lead charge.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Attempt to evade or defeat tax" under Title 26 U.S.C Section 7201.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Fraud by wire, radio, or television" under Title 18 U.S.C Section 1343.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In August 2020 the Justice Department's case-by-case records show that the government brought 17.6 prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of 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  
Cal, C 7 1 More
Ga, N 4 2 More
Ill, N 4 2 More
Penn, M 4 2 More
N Car, E 2 5 More
N. J. 2 5 More
Texas, S 2 5 More
Utah 2 5 More
W Virg, S 2 5 More
D. C. 1 10 More
Fla, S 1 10 More
Ind, N 1 10 More
Ind, S 1 10 More
Mass 1 10 More
Minnesota 1 10 More
N Car, M 1 10 More
N. Y., W 1 10 More
Nebraska 1 10 More
Nevada 1 10 More
Ohio, N 1 10 More
Oregon 1 10 More
Penn, E 1 10 More
Penn, W 1 10 More
S Dakota 1 10 More
Texas, N 1 10 More
Virg, E 1 10 More
Virg, W 1 10 More
W Virg, N 1 10 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts

  • 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.

Judge Count Rank  
Tucker, Josephine Staton Cal, C 4 1 More
Anand, Justin S. Ga, N 3 2 More
Phillips, Virginia A. Cal, C 2 3 More
Ellis, Sara Lee Ill, N 2 3 More
Mannion, Malachy E. Penn, M 2 3 More
Nielson, Howard Curtis, Jr. Utah 2 3 More
Klausner, Robert G. Cal, C 1 7 More
Cooper, Christopher Reid D. C. 1 7 More
Altman, Roy Kalman Fla, S 1 7 More
Vineyard, Russell G. Ga, N 1 7 More
Bucklo, Elaine E. Ill, N 1 7 More
Weisman, M. David Ill, N 1 7 More
Martin, John E. Ind, N 1 7 More
O'Toole, George A., Jr. Mass 1 7 More
Brisbois, Leo I. Minnesota 1 7 More
Boyle, Terrence William N Car, E 1 7 More
Dever, James C., III N Car, E 1 7 More
Hayden, Katharine Sweeney N. J. 1 7 More
Kugler, Robert B. N. J. 1 7 More
Smith Camp, Laurie Smith Nebraska 1 7 More
Brown, Anna J. Oregon 1 7 More
Savage, Timothy J. Penn, E 1 7 More
Jones, John E., III Penn, M 1 7 More
Baxter, Susan Paradise Penn, W 1 7 More
Kinkeade, James E. Texas, N 1 7 More
Hughes, Lynn Nettleton Texas, S 1 7 More
Hanks, George C., Jr. Texas, S 1 7 More
Novak, David J. Virg, E 1 7 More
Urbanski, Michael Francis Virg, W 1 7 More
Kleeh, Thomas Shawn W Virg, N 1 7 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

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.

Report Generated: September 17, 2020
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