A federal jury has found Sanjay Lama, 32, Jacksonville, guilty of using the internet to attempt to entice a 12-year-old child to engage in sexual activity. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release.
Lama was arrested on September 25, 2019, in Jacksonville and has been detained since that date. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 19, 2021. Lama is a citizen of Nepal who, at the time of this offense, was legally residing in Jacksonville and working as an information technology specialist for a local company.
According to evidence and testimony introduced during the five-day trial, on September 25, 2019, an undercover FBI agent who was posing online as a pregnant 12-year-old girl, was contacted by Lama, who was using the screen name “Awesome_Jack.” Lama and the undercover agent engaged in online conversation using a social media app known both for its anonymity as well as for being a way to meet others online for sex.
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Throughout that day, Lama sent 160 text messages in which he expressed his desire to meet the 12-year-old “child” to engage in sexual activity. Lama provided graphic descriptions of the sexual acts that he wanted to perform on the “child.”
Later that afternoon, Lama left his workplace in downtown Jacksonville and rode his motorcycle to a prearranged location at a shopping center in south Jacksonville to meet the “child.” His plan was to take her to her nearby residence for sex. When he arrived at the meeting location, Lama was approached by FBI agents as he was texting with the “child” on his cellphone and was arrested.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.