Federal Bank Prosecutions

by Brandon L. Garrett

In a recent piece published in the Yale Law Journal Forum, I describe data collected concerning prosecutions of banks.  I describe how while formerly quite rare, bank prosecutions have increased in numbers and in the size of penalties.  I also analyze the approach of prosecutors and ask whether it is sufficiently effective.  To add to that analysis, below is a figure displaying, by type of crime, financial institution prosecutions from 2001-2015.

Fig. 1.  Financial Institution Penalties in Federal Criminal Prosecutions by Type of Crime, 2001-2015

Another question is what proportion of these agreements were negotiated as non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, versus plea agreements.  A detailed Appendix lists each agreement in turn, but the figure below depicts what proportion of the agreements in each year involved deferred and non-prosecution agreements versus plea agreements.

Fig. 2.  Financial Institution Prosecutions by Type of Agreement, 2001-2015

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Brandon L. Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at
University of Virginia School of Law and author of Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations, published in 2014.


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