U.S. Attorney Presents Equitable Sharing Funds to Law Enforcement Partners
United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Michelle S. Klimt, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Marshal William Berger, today announce the distribution of more than $400,000 of criminally forfeited funds to six law enforcement agencies for their participation in the successful federal prosecution of Dennis Devlin. Pursuant to the Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program, the funds were distributed to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the Daytona Beach Police Department, the South Daytona Beach Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and the Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department. The presentation of funds took place today at the Volusia County Emergency Operations Center in Daytona Beach.
In July 2011, Dennis Brian Devlin, of Daytona Beach, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting a minor. According to court documents, on more than one occasion in January 2011, Devlin persuaded a 13-year-old child to engage in sexually explicit conduct at the Desert Inn in Daytona Beach. He then used an iPhone and video camera, to take sexually explicit pictures and video of the child. On February 2, 2011, agents executed a federal search warrant at the Desert Inn where Devlin lived and found several iPhones and numerous CDs and DVDs concealed in the ceiling of Devlin’s bathroom that contained sexually explicit images of the child and other images depicting child pornography.
As part of Devlin’s sentence, the court ordered Devlin to forfeit his interest in the Desert Inn, because he had used the hotel to facilitate the crimes for which he was convicted. The forfeited funds were obtained from the sale of the Desert Inn.
The titled owner of the Desert Inn, Deslin Hotels, Inc., filed a claim to contest the forfeiture of the hotel because it alleged that Devlin did not have an interest in the hotel. After several months of litigation, a settlement was reached wherein Deslin Hotels, Inc. conceded to the forfeiture of $1,552,588.62, which represents Devlin’s interest in the proceeds obtained from the recent sale of the Desert Inn.
Under federal forfeiture laws, criminals can be stripped of assets that were used illegally or purchased with proceeds of illegal activity. The Asset Forfeiture Program takes the profit out of crime and the Equitable Sharing Program provides crime-fighting resources to state and local law enforcement. Asset forfeiture and equitable sharing are valuable law enforcement tools that send a clear message that crime does not pay.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen Gable. The forfeitures were handled by Assistant United States Attorney Nicole M. Andrejko. The U.S. Marshals Service was responsible for depositing and distributing the forfeited funds. The various law enforcement agencies involved provided critical assistance during the investigation, including identifying, locating, and interviewing victims, executing federal search warrants, and processing the evidence in the case.
The case was 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 (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.