Founder of Ukraine-Based Hardcore Child Sexual Assault website sentenced in New Jersey to 30 years in prison
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2014
Investigation Led to Conviction of More Than 600 American Subscribers to Illegal Site
NEWARK, N.J. – A Ukrainian man who founded and ran an international hardcore child sexual abuse website was sentenced today to 360 months in prison for his role in a child exploitation enterprise, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Maksym Shynkarenko, 35, of Kharkov, Ukraine, previously pleaded guilty to Count 31 of an indictment charging him with conducting a child exploitation enterprise in connection with a website he operated between 2005 and 2008. The investigation into that website has led to convictions in 47 states of more than 600 American consumers of hardcore images of children being sexually assaulted and abused.
Shynkarenko was initially detained in Thailand in January 2009 pending extradition. He was transported to the United States, where he has been in custody since making his initial court appearance in June 2012. He pleaded guilty to the charge Jan. 8, 2014, before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
“Shynkarenko worked the supply side of a market that sells images of the most depraved, predatory abuse of children,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “Those images endure – as do the wounds inflicted when they were created and when others look at them. Shynkareko appropriately will spend decades of his life paying for significantly fostering the international consumption of documented child sex abuse.”
“The massive HSI investigation that led to today’s sentencing of an international, hardcore child sex abuse website founder is directly tied to more than 600 other criminal convictions for child pornography across 47 states, including dozens of individuals who were already convicted sex offenders,” said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark. “Today’s sentencing illustrates HSI Newark’s ongoing commitment to identify and seek prosecution of criminals who destroy lives by preying on innocent children. The website operated by Shynkarenko not only offered subscribers access to thousands of images and videos showing graphic, unimaginable child sexual abuse, but it further exploited these victims by making money off their mistreatment. As we did in this case, HSI and our international law enforcement partners will continue to use every tool at our disposal to track down those who exploit children and bring them to justice.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From at least 2005 through mid-2008, Shynkarenko operated from Ukraine a website, that he helped design, which offered access to thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse. Subscribers typically paid a fee of $79.99 for a 20-day subscription to the website. Shynkarenko worked in conjunction with other individuals, including one from Siberia who helped process credit card payments in a way that disguised the true nature of the purchases. Shynkarenko and the others operating the website granted access to images and videos to subscribers on hundreds of occasions from 2005 to 2008.
During his guilty plea proceeding, Shynkarenko said he worked with other individuals who advertised the child pornography website over the Internet under names such as “Illegal.CP” and “Pedo Heaven.”
HSI agents first located the child pornography website operated by Shynkarenko in October 2005 – based in part on e-mails recovered from the computer of an individual in Long Branch, N.J. At that time, the banner page of the site identified it as “Illegal.CP,” and the page featured more than a dozen images of minors engaged in sexual acts with other minors and adults. That page declared “[n]ow you are in [sic] few minutes away from the best children porn site on the net!” and “[i]f you join this site you will get tons of uncensored forbidden pics . . . forbidden stories, of course, many videos.” The words “join now” appeared at the top and bottom of the page.
Working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, HSI agents in Newark were able to identify hundreds of individuals who subscribed to the “Illegal.CP” website between November 2005 and February 2006. Those leads, largely developed through agents’ monitoring of the website, led to what became a three-phase investigation: Operation Emissary, Emissary II, and Thin Ice. In late 2006, agents recovered a database of hundreds of additional individuals whose credit cards had been processed while subscribing to the “Illegal.CP” website. During the third phase in 2008, the continued investigation by HSI agents focused more on the operators of the website, including Shynkarenko, and recovered evidence of hundreds of additional individuals who had attempted to subscribe.
The leads, along with master search warrants prepared by the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office, were distributed to HSI offices and U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the nation. The investigation has led to the conviction of more than 600 individuals in 47 states, making the investigation one of the most successful child sexual abuse investigations in the nation’s history. A list of the more than 600 American consumers of images of child sexual abuse convicted as a result of the investigation and the sentences they received was made available at the time of Shynkarenko’s guilty plea, and can be accessed at http://go.usa.gov/9c93.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Walls sentenced Shynkarenko to serve a lifetime of supervised release, and noted he would be required to register as a sex offender, but would likely be deported. In sentencing Shynkarenko, Judge Walls referred to his conduct as “one of the most serious crimes imaginable in our culture as human beings.”
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited HSI special agents, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge McLees, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr., for its work in transporting Shynkarenko from Thailand, and acknowledged the important work of Thai authorities. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked the numerous HSI offices and U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country which prosecuted the cases that secured the 600 convictions achieved during Operations Emissary and Operation Thin ICE, and thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section for their important roles.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Mark J. McCarren and Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Walsman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark and Attorney in Charge Harvey Bartle IV in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Nicholas Wooldridge Esq. and Arkady Bukh Esq., Brooklyn, N.Y.