White-Collar Crime Prosecutions At All-Time LowInteresting news out of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Recent records show that prosecution of white-collar offenders has reached the lowest point since tracking began during the Reagan administration.

Data published by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University found a 25 percent dip in the number of prosecutions in January 2020 as compared to January 2015. This data was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The most frequent charge was white-collar crime related to wire, radio or television fraud.

Wrote Bloomberg, “The Justice Department under Trump has shifted its focus from traditional white collar cases, like big securities prosecutions, to immigration and the sort of corporate espionage targeted by the DOJ’s China Initiative…Immigration-related offenses accounted for more than half of federal prosecutions in fiscal 2018.”

Some of TRAC’s findings include:

  • Very few businesses are prosecuted for white-collar crime. Prosecutors primarily pursue individuals – which is striking, considering most of these types of crimes involve violations concerning financial, insurance or mortgage institutions; health care providers; securities and commodities firms; or frauds committed in tax, federal procurement or federal programs.
  • Since separate tracking began in 2004, only 1,300 business entities have been prosecuted for federal white-collar crimes, compared to 124,402 individuals.
  • Federal white-collar prosecution peaked in 2011 at over 10,000. If they continue in 2020 at the same pace they are now, TRAC anticipates them to be 5,175 –an almost 50% drop.

What counts as white-collar crime?

Prosecutors listed the following violations as white-collar crimes:

Federal Procurement Fraud Federal Program Fraud
Tax Fraud Arson for Profit
Other Insurance Fraud Financial Institution Fraud
Bankruptcy Fraud Advance Fee Schemes
Other Fraud Against Businesses Consumer Fraud
Securities Fraud Commodities Fraud
Other Investment Fraud Antitrust Violations – Other
Computer Fraud Health Care Fraud
Fraud Against Insurance Providers Intellectual Property Violations
Insider Fraud Against Insurance Providers MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements) Fraud/MET
Antitrust Violations – Airlines Antitrust Violations – Banking
Antitrust Violations – Defense Procurement Antitrust Violations – Extraterritorial Application Of
Antitrust Violations – Finance Markets, Other than Banking Telemarketing Fraud
Corporate Fraud Identity Theft
Aggravated Identity Theft Other White-Collar Crime/Fraud


If you have a management or executive role at your job, you could find yourself as a suspect if something goes awry at your company. White-collar crime can go on for years without detection. If you think you might be the target of a white-collar crime investigation, or are afraid you may have committed a white-collar crime, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible – it’s not too late to protect yourself. For experienced criminal defense, talk to Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law. Call 410-271-1892 or complete my contact form to schedule a meeting in my Ellicott City or Annapolis office.

And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.