WASHINGTON – A Los Angeles resident was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for two child exploitation offenses, including engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and traveling in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct, announced John P. Cronan, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Criminal Division, Nicola T. Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California and Joseph Macias, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles.
Paul Alan Shapiro, 71, a retired auto dealership employee, pleaded guilty one day before he was set to go on trial on July 24, 2017. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Shapiro will serve 10 years in federal prison, 20 years of supervised release following his prison sentence, and will pay $20,000 total to two victims, both of whom are citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Central District of California presided over today’s sentencing.
According to plea documents, Shapiro traveled from Los Angeles to Thailand on numerous occasions over the past 20 years, and engaged in sexual acts with male boys under the age of 16 on multiple occasions. On at least two occasions in September 2012, Shapiro paid minors as young as 13 years old small amounts of local currency in order to engage in various sex acts with them. Shapiro photographed these encounters of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the boys.
The case is the result of an investigation by HSI special agents under Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators, and prosecution by trial attorneys with the DOJ Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).
Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.