At the end of 2022, former federal agent Joseph Albert Fuchs III was sentenced to 126 months (10.5 years) imprisonment after an investigation revealed that he had been sending money and eliciting sex from a 14-year-old in the Philippines. The charges of enticement of a minor and sex tourism resulted in an elevated sentence because of his prior role as a federal agent for the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Sex Tourism Is An International Issue
While many people are tempted to engage with sex workers abroad, international sex tourism is a longstanding problem in the international community. Many activists make an explicit connection between sex tourism and human trafficking. In some cases, the prevalence of sex tourism has led to major policy changes, especially when it involves minors. For instance, Amsterdam is actively discouraging tourists from using its notorious red-light district. In Cambodia, tourists seeking sex with minors is so common that the Cambodian government and the United States have worked together to station American federal investigators in the country on a long-term basis.
Prostitution is legal in many countries, and, much like with other activities, it is legal for tourists to partake in the practice. However, this is only true when sex workers are adults and when domestic laws permit it. Most Americans who run afoul of international prostitution laws realize too late that a prostitute is in their late teens and are then caught up in a legal battle they did not anticipate, particularly in countries where the age of consent is below 18. This is often referred to as extraterritorial sexual exploitation. In the United States, having sex with someone under the age of 18 while abroad is illegal.
What Makes Fuch’s Case So Serious
In Fuchs’ case, he spent months in communication with the 14-year-old, and he had sent over $1,000 in wired funds to her. This case is about more than just sex with a minor; it involves enticement and a financial crime. The investigation involved communications tracking as well as forensic accounting experts. The investigation revealed that Fuchs initiated the relationship online from his home in Virginia where he paid the child to send sexually explicit videos to him, which amounts to solicitation of child pornography. He proceeded to visit the girl ten times over the course of five years.
Compounding the issue is Fuch’s prior position as a federal agent. The prosecutors stated after the sentencing that “Federal agents must be held to a higher ethical standard, and this sentence reflects the severity of the committed crimes.”
Federal agents need a strong defense
Prosecutors who pursue charges against police officers, federal agents and other government officials often view any alleged violations of the law as a violation of public trust. Not only will they zealously pursue the investigation as a result, but they will only bring cases where they are confident that they can win. In the case of child sex tourism, investigators are especially relentless. The Department of Homeland Security Investigations has stated in no uncertain terms: There will be no refuge for child sexual predators who believe that they may victimize children outside the United States.
Attorney Darryl Goldberg is highly qualified to undertake cases of this magnitude and type. His experience as a federal criminal defense lawyer has involved representing many current and former law enforcement officers in criminal investigations and prosecutions in both federal and state court, as well as regularly representing individuals accused of sex crimes (including but not limited to both child pornography and prostitution cases). He also regularly represents clients who have had property seized at airports and borders, whether it be money related to an alleged drug crime or investigation or electronic devices seized related to sex tourism investigations. His independent investigations and efforts have led to declination of criminal charges, numerous case dismissals and reduced charges and/or sentences in cases that were brought into court. You can review his former cases, such as United States v. SM which involved child pornography charges, to see how his experience and tenacity has led to numerous successful outcomes for his clients.