Prosecutions of White-Collar Crimes Drop to Lowest in at Least 20 Years

Sunday, August 02, 2015
(photo: Bill Varie, Getty Images)

Dress for success is a maxim that apparently holds true even for criminals, as the federal government’s prosecution of white-collar crime has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years.

Statistics compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University show that prosecutions for crimes such as mail fraud, healthcare fraud and other such offenses are off almost 37% from their peak during the Clinton administration. In 1995, the number of prosecutions was about 11,000 and that number has dropped steadily since then, with the exception of a spike during the first three years of the Obama administration. Prosecutions hit about 10,000 in 2011, but have fallen steeply since, with fewer than 7,000 such cases likely to happen by the end of the fiscal year on September 30.


The place where there appear to be more prosecutions is in the health care arena. Those cases have increased by 5.5% from a year ago and are up 22.1% compared to five years ago. The most common white-collar prosecution now is fraud by wire, radio or television.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation referred the highest percentage of cases for prosecution at 27.8%. The bureau was followed by the Internal Revenue Service (15.8%), the Secret Service (13.1%), the Postal Service (8.3%), and the Social Security Administration (5.3%).

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Federal White Collar Crime Prosecutions At 20-Year Low (TRAC)

FBI Eases Up on White Collar Crime (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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