TAMPA, Fla. - The former spokesman for the Florida Department of Children and Families was sentenced earlier today to federal prison following a joint investigation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Albert Andre Zimmerman, 41, was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison on a charge of production of child pornography by U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew. Zimmerman, formerly of Tallahassee and Lakeland, had pleaded guilty on January 21, 2008.
"Today's sentencing underscores ICE and our law enforcement partners' commitment to identifying, arresting and ensuring justice is served on these individuals who seek to victimize and sexually exploit children, said Sue McCormick, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Tampa. "ICE will continue working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to aggressively protect our communities by bringing to justice these child predators that are a direct threat to our youth."
Zimmerman admitted that from October 2004 until December 2007, in Hillsborough and Orange Counties, he became friendly with six minor males, one under the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Zimmerman persuaded these minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct and then send him pictures of the conduct via email. At times, Zimmerman instructed the minors the poses they should assume for the photos. Zimmerman told the minors that he would pay them money for the pictures and did pay some of the minors. Zimmerman also told some of the minors that he was selling the pornographic photographs to another individual, who would in turn sell them overseas.
This case was investigated by ICE's Office of Investigations in Tampa, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Jacksonville Division, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's CyberCrime Unit, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Tampa Police Department.