Federal Prosecution for White Collar Crime Hits 20-Year Low
During the first nine months of FY 2015, the U.S. government brought 5,173 white collar crime prosecutions. If the year’s pace continues until the end of FY 2015 in September, the total will only be 6,897 – down by 36.8 percent from levels seen two decades ago, despite the rise in population and economic activity during this period, according to a report from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
The projected FY 2015 total is 12.3 percent less than FY 2014, and 29.1 percent down from five years ago.
The report notes that the decline in federal prosecutions does not necessarily indicate a decline in white collar crime, but it may reflect shifting enforcement policies, changing availabilities of essential staff and congressionally mandated legislation alterations.
Top white collar crime offenses have shifted over time; 20 years ago, mail fraud was the most frequent charge; 10 years ago, it was bank fraud; five years ago, it was aggravated identity theft. Currently, fraud by wire, radio or television tops the list of lead charges prosecuted by federal agencies. The report notes that among the current top 10 lead charges, the greatest projected increase in prosecutions involves healthcare fraud. Compared to five years ago, these prosecutions have increased 22.1 percent.