Polk County Cybercrime Detection: “Sting” Vs. Entrapment (Are Overzealous Cybercrime Officers Targeting Innocent Adults?)

August 18, 2014 by David S. Seltzer

Facing arrest for a cybercrime in Florida is a serious matter, and it becomes worse when the accused is completely innocent. A recent sting operation in Polk County may have placed numerous individuals in this situation.

Polk County officers have been working hard to detect cybercrimes involving underage children. However, in their zeal to bring criminals to justice, they have engaged in behaviors possibly amounting to entrapment. Arrest affidavits in several cases include scenarios such as:

• Bait and switch. Police officers posing as adults on popular dating sites develop relationships with law-abiding men, then tell them they are actually underage. When the target of the operation tries to cut ties with the undercover officer, the latter attempts to persuade him to continue the relationship.

• Fake trafficking. Undercover officers occasionally pretend to be parents, offering their children to potential suitors. Whether the target shows interest in the child or not, he may be arrested for talking with the “parent.”

• Enticement.
Despite the target’s seeming lack of interest in sexual activity with a minor, the undercover officer continued to direct the conversation towards that topic.

As a result of these tactics, numerous men have experienced arrest and exposure to negative public attention, including having their mug shots included in press conferences regarding “sexual predators.” Charges in many of these men’s cases have since been cleared.

No conscientious police officer would knowingly target and arrest an innocent individual. However, in their quest to search out true cyber criminals, Polk County officials may have inadvertently done exactly this.

When internet crimes involve illicit activity with underage children, the consequences are often dire and lifelong. Prison time, sex offender registration, and job loss represent only a few of the potential penalties resulting from a conviction.

If you face charges due to a law enforcement entrapment operation, a Florida cybercrime attorney at Seltzer Law, P.A. can help. Contact us today at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) to begin clearing your name.