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Child Exploitation

Palm Beach resident convicted of enticing minors on the Internet and producing and possessing child pornography

Faces up to life in prison

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County man was convicted of possession and production of child pornography and attempting to entice minors to engage in sexual activity following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Timothy Beckett, of Wellington, Fla. was convicted today by a West Palm Beach federal jury of 19 counts, including possession of child pornography, production of child pornography, and attempting to entice minors to engage in sexual activity.

"ICE will aggressively use its investigative authorities to identify and arrest individuals who seek to sexually exploit children in this manner," said Anthony V. Mangione, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami. "We are committed to protecting our communities by bringing to justice these child predators, who are a direct threat to our youth."

According to the charges and evidence produced at trial, Beckett was online impersonating a teenage girl and using a MySpace page to solicit the production of child pornography from minors. The jury convicted Beckett of producing child pornography based on evidence that he enticed four minors to take pornographic pictures of themselves and then transmit the pictures to him by email. Beckett then used those pornographic pictures to threaten and coerce the minors to meet him to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing has been scheduled for January 16, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. At sentencing, Beckett faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison on each of the production counts; a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of up to life in prison on the coercion counts; and up to 10 years in prison on the possession count.

United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta stated, "Our children all too often become the victims of abuse by sexual predators who seek to hide behind the anonymity provided by the Internet. We remain committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting these types of crimes to protect our children from these silent predators."

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of ICE and the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, in this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lothrop Morris and Jennifer Millien.