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Nov. 16, 2010

BRITISH NATIONAL SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TRANSPORTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

(HOUSTON) – A 42-year-old Missouri City resident has been sentenced to prison for transporting child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

United States District Judge Gray Miller sentenced Sandeep Verma, 42, a British national and legal permanent resident of the United States who last resided in Missouri City, Texas, to 135 months imprisonment without parole for transporting child pornography. Verma was convicted of the charge after pleading guilty in June 2010. The prison sentence is to be followed by a life term of supervised release during which the court has imposed a number of condition designed to limit Verma’s access to the Internet and to protect children. Verma has also been ordered to register as a sex offender. Arrested in October 2008, Verma was initially released on bond but that bond was revoked in February 2010 after he violated his bond conditions by viewing inappropriate images online. He will remain in federal custody to serve his sentence. 

The charges against Verma are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston offices of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) initiated in August 2007 when an FBI special agent logged onto a Peer-to-Peer file sharing program and found a computer subsequently traced to Verma’s then Sugar Land, Texas, residence offering child pornography images to share. Through further investigation, the FBI also learned that Verma travels out of the country frequently for business and alerted ICE-HSI.

On Feb. 23, 2008, upon entering the U.S. from Colombia at Bush Intercontinental Airport, Verma’s personal belongings including his laptop computer and CDs in his possession were examined by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. Images of child pornography including two images depicting a nude prepubescent female being penetrated by a foreign object were found on a CD in Verma’s possession. 

Investigating agents obtained a warrant to search Verma’s residence now located in Missouri City and secured his computer from that location. A  search and forensic analysis of that computer resulted in the discovery of Verma’s extensive child pornography collection which included more than 100,000 images/videos containing child pornography. FBI and ICE-HSI agents have identified more than 23,000 images/videos containing child pornography that involve known victims from 158 known series, including adult males engaged in sexual intercourse with prepubescent minors and bondage.

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe, 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, 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.

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