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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



APRIL 18, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FLORIDA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ATTEMPTING TO

ENTICE A MINOR FOR ILLICIT SEX


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Jacksonville, Fla., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to entice a minor over the Internet for illicit sex.


            Billy G. Hicks, Jr., 44, of Jacksonville, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple this morning to the charge contained in a Feb. 9, 2005, federal indictment.


            Hicks admitted that he initially contacted an undercover FBI agent posing as a 13-year-old girl in an Internet chat room called “wants2tryyungfem” on Jan. 18, 2005. Between Jan. 18 and Feb. 6, 2005, Hicks continued to communicate with “Amber” via instant messaging. Hicks said he wanted to engage in a variety of sexual acts with her and would be willing to travel to Kansas City. Hicks also engaged in several telephone conversations with another law enforcement officer who also pretended to be Amber.


            On Feb. 5, 2005, Hicks traveled from Jacksonville to Kansas City via Northwest Airlines. He was arrested by federal law enforcement officers as he waited aboard an airplane that arrived at Kansas City International Airport.


            By pleading guilty today, Hicks also agreed to forfeit to the government a laptop computer, a CD containing child pornography and a cellular flip-phone.


            Under federal statutes, Hicks could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html