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Federal prosecution of white-collar crime plummeted by one-third in the last five years and now rests at the lowest level in 20 years, according to new data from Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse. Records culled from Justice Department data for July, the latest available, show the government reported 434 new white-collar prosecutions, down nearly 10% from one month earlier and nearly 11% from the year before. This drop comes at a time when overall federal prosecutions were up nearly 3% over the last year and up overall 13% for the last five years, according to TRAC. The long-term numbers that took the biggest slide, showing the federal prosecutors have turned resources to other areas. In July 2007 the most frequent prosecutions came in immigration, with 35% of all cases, followed by drug trafficking at 19% and weapons-related cases at 8%, in the top three categories. July records also show sharp declines in public corruption prosecutions, a 21% decline from five years ago. The most frequent white-collar prosecutions per capita in July came in Baton Rouge, La., the middle district of Louisiana, Mobile, Ala., the southern district, and Jackson, Miss., the southern district. The broad category of white-collar crime includes a variety of frauds, from corporate, securities, bankruptcy, tax, financial institution, consumer, health care and telemarketing frauds. The categories also include a variety of antitrust crimes as well. TRAC gathers data from the government through Freedom of Information Act requests.

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