Over 500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔
500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔

Online Enticement Sting Operations

At Bilecki Law Group, we take the cases that others say are unwinnable. We know that if you’ve been caught in a sexual crime sting operation you still have a shot at clearing your good name. Do not blindly plead guilty. Stand up and fight back.

If you have been caught in an online enticement sting operation that has now led to a UCMJ investigation or general court-martial, there is a better-than-average chance that you are scared and overwhelmed. The regret, anger, and disappointment you feel are palpable, and it may seem like there is no hope. Hear us when we tell you: as long as you are willing to fight back, there is always hope.

NCIS, CID, and OSI have all engaged in the ethically dubious process of undercover online enticement sting operations. More often than not, they cross the line from ethically dubious to outright illegal behavior. We have proven that they have baited and entrapped service members into committing crimes they would have never otherwise committed. There is a reason why the person on the other end of the online chat seemed so interested in you, and it had nothing to do with your purported good looks or the explicit photo that was sent. The bait was there to rack up one more guilty verdict for the military justice system.

Due to an undercover agent tempting you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do, here is what you are facing:

Almost guaranteed prison time:  Detailed JAG defense attorneys often advise their clients that a guilty plea is the only option. If you do that, you’ll be looking at two to four years on average and a dishonorable discharge.

Decades as a registered sex offender:  Because many of these sting operations involve agents pretending to be minors, you could be facing at least 25 years as a registered sex offender.

Becoming unemployable post-military: A dishonorable discharge and sex offender status will make you virtually unemployable wherever a background check is needed.

DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY WITHOUT FIRST TALKING WITH EXPERIENCED COURT MARTIAL DEFENSE COUNSEL!

Facing an Allegation?
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Timothy James Bilecki

Military law attorney

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An Assembly Line Built to Churn Out Guilty Verdicts

If you voluntarily went to a website on the dark web titled “Pedofiles R Us” and showed up at a 12-year-old’s house with a six-pack of beer, a teddy bear, and a box of condoms, then you are in trouble. As you should be. Unfortunately, that’s how NCIS, CID, and OSI like to portray every service member caught up in a sting, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Service members are being approached on social media, escort sites like List Crawler, and popular dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr. A relationship is cultivated, and because service members are often lonely and isolated from loved ones, they are remarkably susceptible to this approach. Undercover agents are then so aggressive that you’d think they really are hoping to score. Yet, the only thing they are interested in is destroying an otherwise good service member’s life.

Here's How These Sting Operations Typically Work

Law enforcement agents often start by creating profiles on adult dating websites, presenting themselves as adults using pictures of adults. They engage in conversations and build a rapport with their targets. After establishing a connection, they suddenly introduce the idea that they are actually minors. This bait-and-switch tactic is designed to entrap individuals into committing a crime they had no intention of committing. After dropping the minor persona bombshell, agents often revert back to their adult persona, further confusing and entrapping the target.

This deceptive practice preys on the target’s initial belief that they were interacting with an adult, only to be manipulated into illegal behavior. These tactics are not about preventing crime but about manufacturing criminals to pad statistics and justify budgets. The aggressive nature of these operations is not about justice; it’s about entrapment and coercion.

At the end of the day, they are just padding stats. They are creating the environment themselves that leads to temptation, struggle, and eventually capitulation. Most of these service members were not on the prowl for children. NCIS, CID, and OSI like to fancy themselves as the latest episode of “To Catch a Predator.” In reality, they are only catching a “predator” because they kicked in the door to the den where the bear was hibernating and threw a child at it. It’s not right, and it is not justice. They were seeking your destruction from the start, and if they had to break a few laws to get there, that’s just the cost of doing business for the military justice system.

YOU CANNOT COEXIST WITH A MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT IS TRYING TO DESTROY YOU

sting operations

Common Defenses in Sting Operation Cases

If you voluntarily went to a website on the dark web titled “Pedofiles R Us” and showed up at a 12-year-old’s house with a six-pack of beer, a teddy bear, and a box of condoms, then you are in trouble. As you should be. Unfortunately, that’s how NCIS, CID, and OSI like to portray every service member caught up in a sting, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Service members are being approached on social media, escort sites like List Crawler, and popular dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr. A relationship is cultivated, and because service members are often lonely and isolated from loved ones, they are remarkably susceptible to this approach. Undercover agents are then so aggressive that you’d think they really are hoping to score. Yet, the only thing they are interested in is destroying an otherwise good service member’s life.When facing charges from sting operations, there are critical defenses that can be employed to challenge the prosecution’s case. Two of the most common defenses are entrapment and mistake of fact as to age under the UCMJ.

Entrapment: This defense is pivotal when the suggestion to commit a criminal offense originates from a government agent, and the accused had no predisposition to commit the offense. In essence, entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials induce someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. For this defense to be successful, it must be shown that the government’s actions were the primary cause of the accused committing the crime, rather than any preexisting intent on the part of the accused. The defense must prove that the criminal conduct was the product of the inducements of law enforcement officials, not the accused’s own inclination or predisposition.

Mistake of Fact as to Age: Under the UCMJ, the defense of “mistake of fact” can be used if the accused honestly and reasonably believed that the person they were engaging with was of legal age, which is at least 16 years old. This defense requires demonstrating that the mistake regarding the person’s age was both honest and reasonable under the circumstances. The burden of proof lies with the accused to show that their belief about the person’s age was genuine and reasonable based on the available evidence. This can involve presenting evidence that the individual the service member was chatting with  misrepresented their age or behaved in a way that would lead a reasonable person to believe they were of legal age.

In defending against sting operation charges, it’s crucial to scrutinize the methods used by law enforcement. For entrapment, the focus will be on proving that the accused was not predisposed to commit the crime and that the government’s actions were unduly persuasive or coercive. For the mistake of fact defense, evidence must be elicited to show that the accused had a reasonable basis for believing the other party was of legal age.

Bilecki Racks Up The Wins Against Sting Operation Abuse

The prosecution’s tactics rarely change when it comes to cases that hinge on sting operations. They want you to think that the case is so ironclad that admitting guilt and taking your punishment like a good Soldier or Marine is your only option. They don’t want you to know that you can fight back and win. Just take a look at a few of our wins to see what’s possible.

Marine Warrant Officer: Full Acquittal! – This Warrant Officer was caught up in a sting operation in Okinawa, and the prosecution thought they had him dead to rights. Bilecki got into the fight and exposed the illegal tactics used by NCIS. The Warrant Officer thought he was meeting an adult because NCIS sent him pictures of an adult. NCIS also failed to maintain all of the text messages between the “chatter” and the accused. Not to mention, they may have intentionally deleted certain messages.

Navy Officer: Full Acquittal! – Bilecki fought for a Navy officer who was caught up in a sting operation where, again, NCIS deployed illegal tactics. They intentionally edited out portions of the officer’s statement to law enforcement, and, again, text message evidence went missing.

In another case, the NCIS Sailor used as bait actually asked the suspect for his phone number and later wound up sleeping with our client. Does that sound like someone who is legitimately worried the guy was a pedophile? Absolutely not, as NCIS, CID, and OSI know full well that they are entrapping otherwise good men and women. Take a look at our case results that seem to defy the odds. We fly anywhere in the world to defend and stand by our clients.

Leveraging Our Trial-Ready Stance for Favorable Plea Agreements in Sting Operation Cases

At Bilecki Law Group, our reputation for aggressively defending our clients in online enticement sting operation cases does more than prepare us for trial—it also places us in a strong position to negotiate highly favorable plea agreements. Prosecutors know that we are willing to fight tooth and nail, exposing every flaw and instance of misconduct in these sting operations. This readiness to go to battle often compels the prosecution to seek alternative resolutions to avoid the uncertainty and challenge of a contentious trial.

As a result, we can often secure reduced charges, lighter sentences, or alternative resolutions for our clients. Some clients, based on their risk tolerance and personal circumstances, may prefer a plea agreement to avoid the potential severity of a trial verdict. The stress of prolonged litigation, the desire for a quicker resolution, and the avoidance of public exposure are all factors that can make a plea agreement an attractive option. Often, the best plea agreements are reached on the proverbial courthouse steps, right before trial, when the prosecution sees we are fully prepared to fight and our clients want to manage their risks.

Our thorough preparation and relentless advocacy not only bolster our defense in court but also enhance our negotiating power, ensuring that we achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients, even outside the courtroom. Our track record demonstrates that a strong defense strategy can turn the tide in our clients’ favor, compelling the prosecution to offer deals that reflect the weaknesses in their cases.

UCMJ Article 87b

FAQs About Sting Operations Court Martial Defense

The UCMJ lays out that mistake of fact is a plausible defense. “Mistake of fact as to age” means the accused held, as a result of ignorance or mistake, an incorrect belief that the other person engaging in the sexual conduct was at least 16 years old. You can certainly win based on a mistake of fact, but you will have to fight hard to convince them this was the case. They will not give this to you easily.

Sting operations are rising in popularity around foreign military bases as lonely service members are susceptible to the scam. We’ve been to Mainland Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Hawaii, Europe, and beyond to stand up for those who fight for our freedom. You deserve the best military court-martial defense our nation has to offer.

While that’s not an ideal position, stop talking to anyone and give us a call. Reach out to us, and we’ll provide an honest assessment of what you are facing. There is still time to fight back. There is a better-than-average chance that they made mistakes and potentially broke the law in trying to entrap you. There is still time to secure the best possible outcome for yourself. Don’t let them take everything from you.

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