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Back in 2011, Lee B. Farkas received a 30-year prison sentence for his role in a long-running mortgage fraud that federal prosecutors said caused about $2.9 billion in losses and brought down a bank with $12 billion in assets. That same year, billionaire Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam got 11 years in prison for insider trading—the longest sentence ever handed down for such a crime. In 2009, Marc Dreier, a former New York lawyer, received a 20-year sentence for bilking hedge funds and other investors out of $700 million. And in 2010, Scott Rothstein was sentenced to 50 years for running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.

But fast forward to 2018 and the number of federal prosecutions for white-collar offenses has plummeted. The decline has occurred steadily over time, but under the Trump administration, such prosecutions have fallen below 6,000 per annum for the first time in 20 years, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization at Syracuse University.

On a case-by-case analysis, federal white-collar prosecutions were down 6.8 percent in the 2017 fiscal year ending Sept. 30 compared to the previous year, according to the TRAC data. And federal white-collar prosecutions in 2017 were down more than 47 percent compared to 2011—the banner year under the Obama administration.

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Miriam Rozen

Miriam Rozen covers the business of law and focuses on how lawyers preserve and expand their client roster. Contact her at [email protected] Twitter: @MiriamRozen.

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