Grand Island Man Charged With Enticement Of A Minor
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Anthony Weber, 35, of Grand Island, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with enticement of a minor. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Cantil, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in April 2017, a 15 year-old girl (Victim) began communicating with the defendant via Facebook. The Victim responded to an advertisement seeking workers for a week-long cleanup effort that would pay $10.00/hour. Over the course of two days, the Victim and Weber discussed the Victim possibly working for the defendant over the summer and Victim advised she was still in high school.
In subsequent conversations, Weber offered the victim alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine. At one point, Weber advised the Victim that he wanted to "try u or 1 of ur friends." The Victim replied "wdym" (what do you mean), and the defendant wrote, "If need some lovin." The Victim replied that she just wanted some drugs and did not want to have sex. Weber replied “that’s no good.”
In September of 2017, the City of Tonawanda Police filed a report and alerted the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF). On September 20, 2017, the CETF searched the Victim's phone with her and her mother's consent. CETF officers also assumed the Victim's online identity and began communicating with Weber who asked multiple times for pictures of the Victim. On October 11, 2017, the two agreed to meet at the 7-Eleven store on Hinds Street in Tonawanda. Later that day, the defendant, driving a car also occupied by his minor son (in the back seat), approached an individual he believed to be the Victim. Weber was taken into custody a short time later.
The defendant made an initial appearance U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was released on bond.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the City of Tonawanda Police, under the direction of Chief William Strassburg, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.