News and Press Releases

Sunrise Man Charged for On-line Enticement of Minor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced the arrest and indictment of Gary K. Schatz, 59, of Sunrise, on charges of enticement of a minor over the Internet, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422. At a pre-trial detention hearing held yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon, the defendant was ordered detained.

If convicted, Schatz faces a ten year mandatory minimum sentence and a statutory maximum penalty of up to life in prison, to be followed by a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release. In addition, Schatz would face lifetime registration as a sex offender.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint filed earlier in the case, on June 14, 2012, Schatz used an on-line social networking application to contact and attempt to meet a person he believed to be a 15-year old boy for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. The individual he contacted was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, posing as a minor as part of a joint investigation to locate on-line predators. During an exchange of text messages with the undercover officer, Schatz offered to bring his iPad so they could watch pornographic movies together.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the South Florida Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and ICE-HSI for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandy Galler.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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