A Martinez, Georgia man has been convicted by a federal jury on charges of Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity, Destruction of Records in a Federal Investigation, and Attempted Destruction of Records in a Federal Investigation.
Fawad Shah Syed, 47, of Martinez, Georgia, was convicted on Wednesday after a 2-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, "This defendant was convicted of engaging in inappropriate communications with a girl whom he believed to be 14 years old in order to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and destroying evidence related to that charge. The online solicitation of minors for sexual purposes is deplorable, and the U.S. Attorney's Office aggressively prosecutes individuals, like this defendant, who are involved in such predatory acts towards our children. Syed's conviction will help protect our children from such future predatory acts."
Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Syed, posing as a man in his twenties named "Daniel," engaged in online communications with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl who he initiated contact with online. After four days of text messaging and several attempts to meet the girl, Syed showed up at what he believed to be the girl's residence with condoms and alcohol. He was immediately arrested by law enforcement officers. Shortly thereafter, he contacted his wife from jail, and before telling her what charges he faced, instructed her to delete his email account and remotely wipe his phone. He also asked her to wipe his computer. Mrs. Syed cooperated with law enforcement thereafter, providing an investigator with Defendant's computer and testifying at trial. Syed's computer was searched, and revealed online texts that he had last summer with a 13-year-old girl.
Syed faces up to life in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and between 5 years and life of supervised release for the enticement charge. He also faces up to 10 years in prison for each destruction of evidence charge. Syed remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing. A sentencing date will be scheduled following completion of a presentence investigation and report.
This prosecution was the result of a joint investigation of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the FBI's Computer Crime Child Exploitation Task Force. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
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