Anthony Scott Richards Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on October 21, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ANTHONY SCOTT RICHARDS, a 34-year-old resident of Rumford, Maine, pled guilty to distribution of child pornography. A sentencing date will be set at a later date. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On December 4, 2008, a detective with the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force was utilizing the assumed identity of a child pornographer (hereafter referred to as "John Doe") who had been actively trading child pornography with other individuals. "John Doe" had already been arrested and allowed agents to assume his identity.
The detective sent generic off-line messages via Yahoo! Instant Messenger (IM) to all of "John Doe's" contact list, which included "Mainebim4u," to see if anyone would respond. The detective, posing as "John Doe," received several off-line messages from Yahoo! during the course of a chat on February 10, 2009, including "Mainebim4u" who sent pictures of child pornography to the detective. "Mainebim4u" was later identified as Anthony Scott Richards of Maine.
RICHARDS asked the detective if he had any "good pictures" from an individual who was actually an undercover agent, who had been posing as a single female with two minor daughters. The detective indicated to RICHARDS that there were four photographs, depicting the two minor daughters naked. RICHARDS expressed interest in obtaining sexually explicit photographs of the two minor daughters and expressed interesting in talking with the individual, who was actually an undercover agent posing as a woman with two minor daughters. The detective provided RICHARDS with the undercover agent's profile information.
RICHARDS contacted the undercover agent on March 5, 2009, and sent him a picture of child pornography.
On March 31, 2009, the Montana detective and several Maine law enforcement officers went to RICHARDS' address in Rumford, Maine. The detective physically identified RICHARDS by name and date of birth at that address. RICHARDS confirmed he was the sole user of the Yahoo! screen name "mainebim4u," admitted to corresponding with "John Doe's" screen name, and admitted sending images of child pornography via the computer and the Internet.
RICHARDS faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Helena Police Department, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and members of the Maine Computer Crimes Unit.