The federal court punishment range for Fawad Shah Syed, 47, was enhanced because he not only showed up at an apartment with condoms and alcohol to meet a 14-year-old girl but also had done similar things in the past.
A jury in U.S. District Court in Augusta convicted Syed on Sept. 4 of the child-sex crime, destruction or altercation of records in a federal investigation, and attempted destruction or altercation of records in a federal investigation.
Evidence presented at the trial revealed Syed pretended to be a man in his 20s named Daniel to engage in online communications with what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. When he showed up at what he thought was the teen’s home, law enforcement officers were waiting.
From jail, Syed called his wife and instructed her to delete his e-mail account and remotely wipe his phone. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Greenwood said Tuesday that investigators were lucky that Syed had downloaded text exchanges he had with a 13-year-old Evans girl in 2012.
Syed also used the same ruse – phony name and age – to initiate contact with a 17-year-old whom he later married.
Defense attorney Travis Saul asked Judge J. Randal Hall to consider a sentence at the lower end of the sentencing range. He cited Syed’s lack of any criminal record, his steady employment history and family.
Hall’s sentence fell near the middle of the range of 262 and 327 months. After his release, Syed will be on supervised release for 10 years.