MANHATTAN (CN) – Bringing good tidings to fraudsters, monopolists, identity thieves and for-profit arsonists, new data from the Department of Justice show white-collar prosecutions hit an all-time low in January.
Those are the bracing findings of Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which reported Wednesday a 35.7 percent dip in such cases from five years ago.
“White-collar prosecutions since President Trump assumed office generally have been lower than in previous administrations,” the researchers said, citing data obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
Of the 337 new white-collar prosecutions brought in January by the U.S. Department of Justice, 42 went to magistrate courts.
“These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called ‘petty offenses,’” says the report from TRAC.
Aggravated identity theft was the most frequently cited lead charge in magistrate proceedings, representing 26.2 percent of all filings.
For the remaining 295 defendants facing U.S. District Court charges in January 2019, the top charge was fraud by wire, radio, or television; researchers found that this has remained the most common white-collar crime for five years running.
The Southern District of Illinois churned out the largest number of white-collar cases per capita in January, an uncommonly productive month for a jurisdiction that ranked 51 only one year ago and 30 five years ago.
In Wall Street’s shadow, the Southern District of New York has held relatively steady: It holds the No. 2 spot for charging white-collar defendants in January, the same position it occupied one year ago.
Five years ago, during the heyday of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s insider trading prosecutions, the Southern District ranked in third place.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.