CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—Michael Thomas Clift, 49, of Portland, Texas, has landed in prison for 14 years, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Clift pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography on April 30, 2012.
The sentencing hearing began Aug. 23, 2012, and concluded just moments ago before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos. At the conclusion of the hearing today, Judge Ramos sentenced Clift to a 168-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 20-year-term of supervised release, during which he will be required to comply with numerous conditions limiting his access to children and the Internet as well as requiring him to participate in sex offender counseling. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Clift came to the attention of FBI Corpus Christi when an FBI child pornography search warrant was executed on a home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in September 2011. A subsequent forensic examination of computers seized in that investigation led to the discovery of several individuals engaged in trading child pornography with the Minnesota suspect, one of whom was identified as Clift.
A search warrant was issued for Clift’s e-mail account, and it was confirmed he had traded child pornography with the Minnesota suspect as well as several other individuals. The FBI, with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, executed a search warrant on his Portland residence on January 19, 2012, at which time he was then taken into custody. At that time, he admitted to sending and receiving e-mails containing child pornography to and from the Minnesota suspect.
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke, 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, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit USdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit USdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”