Member of International Child Exploitation Conspiracy Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison
A Wichita, Kansas man was sentenced to 210 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release, for production of child pornography based on his participation in a website that was operated for the purpose of coercing and enticing minors as young as eight years old to engage in sexually explicit conduct on web camera.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Section Chief John J. Brosnan of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section (VCACS) made the announcement.
Allan Cortez, 34, was charged on April 4, 2016, and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia on April 14.
According to admissions made in connection with the plea agreement, members of the conspiracy created false profiles on social networking sites popular with children, posing as young teenagers to lure children to two websites they controlled. Once on the conspirators’ websites, Cortez admitted that members of the conspiracy showed the children pre-recorded videos of prior minor victims, often engaging in sexually explicit conduct, to make the new victims think that they were chatting with another minor. Cortez further admitted that conspirators used these videos to coerce and entice children to engage in sexually explicit activity on their own web cameras, which could be viewed live by other members without the victim’s knowledge and which the website automatically recorded and made available for download later. Cortez admitted that he chatted with minors in furtherance of the conspiracy. The defendant also admitted that one of the websites ranked the efforts of the members to successfully coerce and entice children to engage in sexually explicit conduct on live web camera. Both websites have been disabled.
This case was investigated as part of Operation Subterfuge, a multinational investigation coordinated by members of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children (VCAC) International Task Force. VCAC special agents led the investigation with the assistance of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and the FBI’s Digital Analysis and Research Center and the Office of Victim Assistance. The South Africa Police Service, Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses, Gauteng; Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre; the Dutch Police Service Agency, KLPD; and the Australian Federal Police, Child Protection Operations, Sydney were active partners in Operation Subterfuge. To date, over 320 minor victims have been identified as part of this operation.
In addition to his prison sentence, the defendant was ordered to pay $15,215 of restitution.
Trial Attorney Lauren Britsch of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Russell of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.
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 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.justice.gov/psc.