FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. – A Wayne, N.J., man admitted today to sharing images of child sexual abuse from his home computer, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Manuel Fernandez, 33, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to one count of an indictment charging him with distributing images of child pornography over the Internet. Fernandez has been in custody since his arrest in January 2012.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made during Fernandez’s guilty plea proceeding:
Fernandez admitted that between March 2011 and January 2012, he was a member of an online peer-to-peer file sharing network. Fernandez also admitted he made images and videos of child pornography available for other members to download from his “shared” folder. On March 24, 2011, an undercover law enforcement agent successfully downloaded multiple images and videos of child sexual abuse from Fernandez’s computer.
On Jan. 25, 2012, federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at Fernandez’s residence. The agents recovered a 1-terabyte hard drive and a 250-gigabyte computer tower, both of which contained numerous images and videos of minor children being sexually abused.
As part of his guilty plea, Fernandez agreed to forfeit the computers and computer accessories he used to commit the offense. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
The distribution of child pornography count to which Fernandez pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Aug. 19, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
14-174Defense counsel: Chris Adams Esq. Holmdel, N.J.