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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Former Gainesville Pharmacy Technician Sentenced To 15 Years For Child Exploitation Offenses

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Matthew Bryan Caniff (33, Gainesville) to 15 years in federal prison for attempted online enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity, online solicitation of child pornography, and attempted production of child pornography. He was also ordered to serve a five-year term of supervision release and to register as sex offender after his release from prison. In January 2017, Caniff was convicted by a federal jury. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a pharmacy technician at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

 

According to testimony at trial, beginning on March 31, 2016, Caniff engaged in a series of online text conversations over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old child. Unbeknownst to Caniff, this "child" was actually an undercover FBI agent. During the course of these online conversations, Caniff discussed in detail his desire to have sex with the “child” and sent the “child” several explicit photos of himself. He also made several requests for the “child” to send him images engaging in sexual conduct.

 

In the early morning hours of April 1, 2016, Caniff drove his vehicle from his residence in Gainesville to a home in St. Johns County to meet the “child” for sex. He was arrested at the meeting location by deputies from St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. A search of his person revealed that Caniff had brought a plastic bag containing several prescription pills that he had taken from UF Health Shands Hospital and had intended to share with the “child” during their planned sexual encounter.

 

“The FBI devotes extensive resources to fighting the horrific crime of child sexual exploitation," said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville division, "and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove predators from our communities, and bring justice upon those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable young people."

 

This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

 

It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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 locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated April 27, 2017