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Top Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Leonard on DOJ’s annual summary of fraud prosecutions

by | May 9, 2024 | Firm News

Top Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Leonard on DOJ’s annual summary of fraud prosecutions. The United States Department of Justice’s Fraud Section recently published its annual Report, which provides statistics and detail on its country-wide federal fraud prosecutions.

The Fraud Section obviously thinks highly of itself as evidenced by its own description of its work: “[T]he Fraud Section continues to be a national leader in white collar and corporate enforcement, handling the most complex domestic and international cases and developing corporate enforcement policies and
expectations for corporate compliance programs that impact corporate behavior.” That said, it is true that traditional “white collar” fraud cases are less frequently, and one could say rarely, brought in the State Courts.

The data provided in this Report is informative, and provides insight into the DOJ’s volume, rate of success, and priorities. Here is the data of note from the Report (see below). However, one troubling statement in the Report, at least from the standpoint of Federal criminal defense lawyers, is that, “[Y]ear-over-year, the average alleged fraud loss per individual charged, and the average sentence length for individuals convicted in white collar cases, has increased.” See Report (emphasis added). Interestingly, this is not consistent with regard to the numerous Federal fraud cases we have handled at Leonard Trial Lawyers.

In any event, the data indicates that Fraud Section attorneys tried to verdict 43 cases in 19 Federal District Courts and obtained convictions in 47 of those individuals. That represented the charging of 240 individuals, and the conviction of 266 individuals. The Report further indicates that about one-quarter of
individuals charged with Federal fraud offenses in 2023 were Executives, lawyers, or medical professionals. The Report additionally indicates that the Fraud Section entered 8 Corporate Resolutions, and 3 Corporate Enforcement Policy Declinations.

In sum, the statistics in this Report further underscore the need to retain not only competent “White Collar” counsel, but counsel who have actually won cases in Federal Court jury trials. Leonard Trial Lawyers is proud to say that, on approximately 10 different occasions, their clients have walked away from Federal jury trials with no convictions whatsoever – including 7 different outright jury determined not guilty cases.

Michael Leonard

Leonard Trial Lawyers

May 9, 2024