CONCORD -- A Massachusetts man was sentenced to two years in federal prison for traveling across state lines into New Hampshire after arranging to have sex with a child, officials said.

Jean Fouad Yazbek, 63, of Norwood, Mass., was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 24 months in prison for traveling to New Hampshire with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, U.S. Atty. Scott Murray announced.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in October, 2018, members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) launched an undercover investigation targeting online sexual offenders.

As part of the investigation, a detective created an undercover online persona of a 15-year-old girl living in Nashua. Several individuals began messaging the fictitious female on social media soon after the account was registered, including Yazbek.

Officials said beginning on October 2, 2018, and continuing through October 8, 2018, Yazbek engaged in sexually-charged conversations over social media with the UC. In these conversations, Yazbek expressed a desire to engage in various sex acts, including sexual intercourse, with the fictitious 15-year-old girl.

On October 8, 2018, officials say Yazbek drove from Massachusetts to Nashua, to meet who he believed was a 15-year-old female at a local hotel for sex. When Yazbek arrived, he encountered law enforcement officers instead and was arrested.

Yazbek admitted to police he had planned to meet a 15-year-old girl, whom he had met online and with whom he intended to engage in illicit sexual conduct, including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse.

According to Yazbek, he had checked into a local hotel prior to his arrest, and his hotel room contained a brand new phone, a teddy bear, undergarments, and a backpack containing shaving equipment, lubricant, and condoms.

According to police, Yazbek gave written consent to search his hotel room. There, officers found the items described by Yazbek during his interview.

Yazbek previously pleaded guilty on May 14.

“Protecting the well-being of our children is a high priority of the law enforcement community,” said Murray in a statement. “It is disturbing that criminals are lurking online and seeking to prey upon children in the Granite State. Thankfully, this defendant’s efforts to victimize a young girl were thwarted by excellent law enforcement work. We will not hesitate to bring federal charges against those who threaten the safety of children in New Hampshire.”

“Yazbek thought he was traveling across state lines to have sex with a 15 year old, but his fantasy came to an abrupt end when he found himself in handcuffs” said Jason J. Molina, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Boston. “Today’s sentencing should send a strong message to those who seek to sexually exploit children – state lines will not impede the efforts of the law enforcement community in safeguarding our children and bringing predators to face justice.”

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