Gainesville Pharmacy Technician Found Guilty Of Attempted Online Enticement Of A Minor And Pornography Offenses
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced today that a federal jury in Jacksonville has found Matthew Bryan Caniff (33, Gainesville) guilty of attempted online enticement of a minor child to engage in illegal sexual activity, online solicitation of child pornography, and attempted production of child pornography. On the attempted online enticement count, Caniff faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, up to life, in prison. He also faces a minimum of 15 years, up to 30 years’ imprisonment each on the solicitation and the attempted production charges. Prior to his arrest, Caniff had worked as a pharmacy technician at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 26, 2017.
According to testimony and evidence introduced during the trial, from March 31, 2016, through April 1, 2016, Caniff engaged in a series of 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 his desire to have sex with the “child” in detail. He also made several requests for the “child” to send him images engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
In the early morning hours of April 1, 2016, Caniff drove his vehicle from his residence in Gainesville to a residence in St. Johns County to meet the “child” for sex. He was arrested at the meeting location by St. Johns County Sheriff's deputies. 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.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being 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.