North Pole Man Convicted of Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography
Fairbanks, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that on June 20, 2018, a federal jury in Fairbanks convicted Eric Whitebread, 42, of two counts of distribution of child pornography, and one count of receipt of child pornography.
The jury found Whitebread guilty after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline of the District of Alaska. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2018, in Fairbanks. The maximum penalty for each of the counts of conviction is not less than five years and up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of five years to life.
According to evidence presented at trial, on two different days in June 2015, Whitebread distributed files of child pornography through an online file-sharing network. Upon execution of a search warrant at Whitebread’s North Pole residence, law enforcement located his computer. Located on the computer were 618 images of child pornography that had been downloaded through the file-sharing network between July 14, 2015, and Aug. 24, 2015. Contextual evidence discovered by law enforcement during a forensic examination of Whitebread’s computer – including data recovered from millions of lines of computer code – located numerous indicators that child pornography was being downloaded and viewed on the computer at times when Whitebread’s text messages showed him to be home and online. In addition, the computer did not show any activity at times the evidence showed Whitebread was away from the house.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Veldhuis and Kyle Reardon.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.