Five Men Plead Guilty in Virginia for Roles in Child Pornography Distribution Conspiracy
WASHINGTON – Five men pleaded guilty today in Virginia for conspiring to receive, distribute, possess and access with intent to view child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Timothy J. Heaphy.
Manuel Antonio Mares, 57, of Miami; Jeremy Hart Yost, 26, of West Bend, Ore.; Richard Phillip Allen, 66, of Redondo Beach, Calif.; and James Calvin Boyd, 58, of Pell City, Ala., pleaded guilty today before Senior District Judge Norman K. Moon in the Western District of Virginia to one count of conspiring to receive, distribute, possess and access with the intent to view child pornography. Jesse Leon Coleman, 48, of Lynchburg, Va., pleaded guilty today before Judge Moon to one count of receiving child pornography.
Mares, Yost, Allen, Boyd and Coleman were charged along with four others in an indictment unsealed on Feb. 2, 2012. Co-defendant Peter Franklin Ortiz, 56, of Greenville, S.C., pleaded guilty in the Western District of Virginia on Oct. 16, 2012, to one count of conspiring to receive, distribute, possess and access with the intent to view child pornography. Co-defendants Thomas Syfor, 71, and Matthew Ackerman, 49, both of Bethlehem, Pa., were previously transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for disposition in that district. The ninth defendant, known as “Andy Danilov,” is believed to reside in Russia and remains at large.
According to court documents, beginning in August 2010 and continuing until at least November 2011, Danilov distributed emails to a group of individuals, including the defendants, that contained links to compressed files and file attachments depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Danilov often used the screen name “Cinemaboy” in the emails. According to information presented at today’s plea hearing, forensic analysis of each of the defendants’ computers confirmed their involvement in the conspiracy, and some of the defendants were found to possess very large numbers of images and movies depicting the sexual abuse of children.
Each of the defendants who pleaded guilty today faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release at sentencing. Due to one or more prior convictions involving the sexual exploitation of a minor, Ortiz faces enhanced penalties, including a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. All of the defendants will be required to register as sex offenders.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the FBI Innocent Images Operations Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Healey of the Western District of Virginia and CEOS Trial Attorney Darcy Katzin.