A university study that examined federal prosecutions of white-collar crimes identified the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as the location with the most white-collar cases per capita in January. Researchers drew upon data from the U.S. Department of Justice to measure prosecutions against people accused of various crimes like identity theft, wire fraud or embezzlement. Despite the spike in cases recorded in Illinois, these caseloads fluctuate. The southern district ranked as low as 51st among federal courts with white-collar cases a year ago.
Overall, the data revealed that prosecutions for this class of crimes have decreased by 35.7 percent compared to numbers from five years ago. The study presented a snapshot of the 337 new white-collar cases initiated by federal courts in January. Forty-two of them went to magistrate courts that process low-level misdemeanors, such as aggravated identity theft.
The remaining 295 cases involved defendants charged with more serious crimes such as wire fraud, which represented the number one type of allegation. This form of fraud that involves wire, radio or television has accounted for the most cases every year for the past five years.
Despite the decline in white-collar prosecutions, the trend means little to a person accused of wrongdoing in financial matters. Legal advice could be appropriate for a person charged with white-collar crimes. An attorney may explain the meaning of the charges and evaluate the evidence to judge the strength of a prosecutor’s case. Information provided by an attorney about possible penalties may increase a person’s understanding of the pros and cons of going to trial versus considering a plea deal. Defense strategies initiated by an attorney might reduce the clarity of the evidence and improve a person’s position. These efforts may motivate a prosecutor to reduce charges.