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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 2, 2018

Brooklyn Man Arrested For Attempting To Induce A Minor To Have Sex

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest of SHMUEL ZARZAR on a charge of attempted inducement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.  ZARZAR was arrested yesterday and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before the Honorable Kevin N. Fox.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Shmuel Zarzar attempted, through a month-long correspondence, to induce a 12-year-old to have sex with him.  He was arrested yesterday when the meeting he allegedly thought he was having with the child victim turned out to be a meeting with the FBI.” 

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “The alleged behavior of the subject is nothing short of outrageous, and we simply won’t tolerate this in our community.  The FBI New York Crimes Against Children Task Force fights each day to protect the most vulnerable among us, and we will aggressively pursue predators who target our children.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint sworn out today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

Over the course of several weeks in December 2017, ZARZAR exchanged text messages with a 12-year-old whom ZARZAR had met in person in Brooklyn, New York.  ZARZAR repeatedly requested to meet with the victim and, when the victim refused to confirm a date and time, ZARZAR indicated that he had gone to an area near where the victim attended school in order to see her.  After law enforcement officials were notified of these text message exchanges, a law enforcement officer operating in an undercover capacity (UC-1) assumed the victim’s identity and began to communicate with ZARZAR from the victim’s cellphone with the consent of her parents.  During the course of these conversations, throughout January 2018, ZARZAR requested photographs of the victim, including ones in which the victim was nearly naked, and described explicit sexual activity that he intended to engage in with the victim.  During the investigation, law enforcement officials observed ZARZAR standing near the victim’s school for several hours.  On February 1, 2018, after ZARZAR and UC-1, who was acting as the victim, arranged to meet in Manhattan, law enforcement officials observed ZARZAR at the pre-arranged meeting location and apprehended him shortly thereafter.

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ZARZAR, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of attempted inducement of a minor under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity, which carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Crimes Against Children squad.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Elinor L. Tarlow is in charge of the prosecution.

The charge contained in the Complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
18-039
Updated February 2, 2018