SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for receiving child pornography over the internet.
Scott James Wells, 56, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 14 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Wells to a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration, and ordered him to pay $15,000 in restitution to his victims.
On May 4, 2021, Wells withdrew his plea of not guilty on the day his criminal jury trial was scheduled to begin. Wells entered a nolo contendre, or “no contest,” plea, neither admitting nor disputing the federal charges against him, but acknowledging the government had sufficient evidence to convict him of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The court found Wells guilty of one count of receiving and distributing child pornography. Wells has been detained in federal custody since that date.
Wells received child pornography over the internet between Dec. 15, 2016, through March 22, 2017. Law enforcement received two CyberTipline reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after Wells used his Facebook account to transmit two images of child pornography to another Facebook user.
Officers executed a search warrant at Wells’s residence and seized his laptop computer, which contained child pornography.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James J. Kelleher and Nhan Nguyen. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent J.D. Holdman and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.
Project Safe Childhood
This 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, 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 www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Missouri