Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Registered Sex Offender Charged With Online Enticement Of A Minor Is Sentenced To More Than 19 Years
STATESVILLE, N.C. – A registered sex offender was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Richard Voorhees to serve 235 months in a federal prison on charges of online enticement of a minor, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Voorhees also ordered Samuel Henry Vinci, Jr., 55, of Granite Falls, N.C. to continue to register as a sex offender and to serve the rest of his life under court supervision after he is released from prison.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division and Sheriff Alan C. Jones, of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
According to court records, Vinci was convicted in 1998 of two counts of second degree rape and served 11 years in prison. After serving his prison term, Vinci was required to register as a sex offender and to inform law enforcement about any online identifiers he used, including e-mail addresses.
Court records show that in September 2014, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office became aware that Vinci was operating a social media webpage under a fictitious name. According to court records, using his fake social media identity, Vinci befriended an individual he believed to be a 15 year old female, but unknowingly made contact with law enforcement instead. Court records show that over the course of multiple online exchanges, Vinci asked the individual he thought was a minor to engage in sexual acts. During those exchanges, Vinci also repeatedly tried to verify the minor’s identity, sent her photos of himself, and gave her instructions on how to delete evidence of their conversations to avoid detection. According to court records, eventually Vinci asked the individual he believed to be a minor female to meet with him alone. Law enforcement arrested Vinci in when he drove to the agreed location to meet the 15 year old girl.
Vinci pleaded guilty in October 2015 to one count of online enticement of a minor and is currently in federal custody. He will be transferred to custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by the FBI and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cortney Randall of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.