|(03 Mar 2020)
The latest available case-by-case records from the Department of Justice show that the prosecution of white-collar offenders in January 2020 reached an all-time low since tracking began during the Reagan Administration.
Only 359 defendants were prosecuted. Almost all of these were individuals rather than businesses. January 2020's prosecutions continued a downward slide, dropping 8 percent from a year ago, and were down 25 percent from just five years ago.
On an annual basis, during the Obama Administration they reached over 10,000 in FY 2011. If prosecutions continue at the same pace for the remainder of FY 2020, they are projected to fall to 5,175 - about half the level of their Obama-era peak. These comparisons are based on case-by-case information obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University after successful litigation against the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act.
Prosecutors chiefly pursue individuals when prosecuting white-collar crimes. Corporations and other business organizations are rarely prosecuted. Yet white-collar crimes typically involve some form of fraud or anti-trust violations involving financial, insurance or mortgage institutions; health care providers; securities and commodities firms; or frauds committed in tax, federal procurement or federal programs among others.
Since separate tracking for business entities began in FY 2004, businesses made up just 1 out of every 100 prosecutions. Mirroring overall trends, the number of white-collar offenses that business entities have been prosecuted for have also been generally falling.
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