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Justice News

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seminole Man Found Guilty Of Possession And Distribution Of Child Pornography

Tampa, FL -  Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Michael Meister (57, Seminole) was found guilty yesterday of possession and distribution of child pornography following a bench trial. Meister  faces a maximum penalty of 40  years in federal prison.  His sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 19, 2013, at 9:30 a.m.  Meister was indicted on August 11, 2011.

According to the facts presented at trial, on July 30, 2007, Meister took his Dell laptop to a computer repair shop in Pinellas County and requested that certain files be moved from his old laptop onto a new laptop computer that he had recently purchased.  While the computer technician was transferring files, he viewed what he believed to be child pornography and called law enforcement.  Law enforcement obtained a search warrant and performed a search of the computer.   A forensic analysis of the computer hard drive revealed that Meister knowingly possessed and distributed child pornography.

This case was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in conjunction with their work on the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Child Exploitation Task Force. It is being  prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.

This case was 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 the 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 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Updated January 26, 2015