A Martinez man has been sentenced in U.S. Federal Court to several years in prison for the 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.
Read the text of a press release from U.S. Attorney General Edward Tarver's office below:
Fawad Shah Syed, 47, of Martinez, Georgia, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to over 24 years in prison, followed by ten years of supervised release, for the 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. He was also ordered to pay a $6,000 fine, and will be required to register as a sex offender. Syed had been convicted of those crimes by a federal jury in September 2013.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, "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. This defendant committed a serious crime for which lengthy punishment is justified."
Evidence presented during the trial and sentencing hearing 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 Syed's computer and testifying at trial. Syed's computer was searched, and revealed online texts that Syed had last summer with a 13-year-old girl in the Evans, Georgia area. The Court cited to Syed's pattern of predatory behavior as one of the many disturbing components of his criminal conduct when imposing the lengthy sentence.
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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