Skip to main content
Press Release

New York Man Sentenced to 17 and a Half Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of Children and Distribution of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant One of Many Prolific Users of Welcome To Video, The World’s Formerly Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website

    WASHINGTON – Vincent Galarza, 32, of Glendale, New York, was sentenced today to 17 and a half years – or 210 months – in prison for his involvement and participation in the world’s formerly largest darknet child pornography website, Welcome To Video.

    Galarza pleaded guilty on Jan. 17, 2023, to sexual exploitation of children and conspiracy to distribute child pornography.

    Galarza is one of eight prolific users of the website Welcome to Video, charged in the District of Columbia for their participation in a massive darknet advertisement and distribution of child pornography. Welcome To Video operated as a hidden service on the Tor network until March 2018, when it was seized by law enforcement authorities. As of October 2019, when the Department initially announced its indictment of Welcome to Video site administrator Jong Woo Son (a South Korean national, subsequently convicted in South Korea), an additional 337 site users worldwide had been arrested and charged.

    Additional defendants charged and convicted in the District of Columbia include Nicholas Stengel, 47, of Washington, D.C.; Charles Wunderlich, 36, of Hot Springs, California; Ernest Wagner, 72, of Federal Way, Washington; Darryl Miller, 36, of Shawnee, Kansas; Jason DeJournett, 47, of Seal Beach, California; Brian LaPrath, 36, of San Diego, California; and Michael Ezeagbor, 24, of Pflugerville, Texas.

    According to court documents, users of the website created registered accounts with usernames and a password. Only after the user registered an account could the user browse previews of videos available for download and post text to the website. To download videos from the site, users needed “points,” which were allocated to users by the website. A registered user could earn points from the website in several ways, including uploading videos depicting child pornography, referring new users to the website, and paying for a “VIP” account with Bitcoin.

    Court documents show that certain persons joined the conspiracy to distribute child pornography by uploading videos. Those co-conspirators who uploaded videos of child pornography for “points” also earned additional “points” each time a customer of the site downloaded that particular video. Court documents state that the co-conspirators had a shared goal as part of the conspiracy – increasing the number of unique videos on the website to drive additional traffic to it, which in turn led to greater downloads and more points for the co-conspirators.

The following is a summary of the conduct of each defendant charged in the District of Columbia.

Vincent Galarza

    Between approximately May 31, 2017, and February 9, 2018, Galarza downloaded at least 174 videos from the website and uploaded approximately 560 videos, all of which depicted child pornography. A subsequent forensic search of Galarza’s electronic devices revealed that he was in possession of an additional 500 images and 102 videos of child pornography, the majority of which depicted sexually explicit conduct of pre-pubescent children.

    During the search of the electronic devices, court documents say that authorities identified two minor victims that had been secretly recorded by Galarza. Galarza captured at least 20 videos of one of the minor victims that he then edited and clipped to produce over 966 still-shot images that focused on the same minor’s genitalia and pubic area.

    Investigators also determined that Galarza had used images produced of one of the minor victims in an attempt to extort the victim into sending him additional images.

Nicholas Stengel

    Stengel was sentenced to 180 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and laundering of monetary instruments. Stengel had a previous conviction for possession of child pornography. Stengel had amassed an extensive collection of child pornography from the website, with over 6,000 videos and 600,000 images.

Charles Wunderlich

    Wunderlich was sentenced to 87 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release on June 28, 2022, after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography. Wunderlich uploaded 13 videos and downloaded four videos of child pornography from the website.

Ernest Wagner

    Wagner was sentenced to 60 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release on June 4, 2021, after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography. Wagner uploaded 84 videos and downloaded 40 videos depicting child pornography from the website.  A forensic review of his electronic devices identified an additional 92 images and 22 videos depicting child pornography in his possession.

Darryl Miller

    Miller was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release in the District of Kansas on Sept. 22, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to access with intent to view child pornography. Miller downloaded approximately 20 gigabytes of data from the website and had approximately 57 child pornography images on his devices. 

Jason DeJournett

    DeJournett was sentenced to 33 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release on July 30, 2021, after he pleaded guilty to access with intent to view child pornography. DeJournett downloaded 113 videos of child pornography from the website.

Brian LaPrath

    LaPrath was sentenced to 18 months in prison on June 19, 2019, after he pleaded guilty to laundering monetary instruments. LaPrath exchanged funds to obtain Bitcoin and used that Bitcoin to download child pornography from the website

Michael Ezeagbor

    Ezeagbor was sentenced to time served and five years of supervised release on June 25, 2021, in the Western District of Texas after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography. Ezeagbor uploaded ten videos and downloaded 42 videos depicting child pornography from the website.  A subsequent forensic review of his electronic devices identified an additional 190 images and 14 videos depicting child pornography in his possession.

    Additional investigations into those affiliated with Welcome To Video remain ongoing. 

    These cases were investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  The Korean National Police of the Republic of Korea, the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom and the German Federal Criminal Police (the Bundeskriminalamt), provided assistance and coordinated with their parallel investigations.  The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division provided significant assistance.   

    These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Lindsay Suttenberg, former AUSA Zia M. Faruqui, and former AUSA Youli Lee, Paralegal Specialists Brian Rickers and Diane Brashears, Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick, and Records Examiner Chad Byron of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. 

    Additional assistance has been provided by Deputy Chief Keith Becker and Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and former U.S. Attorney’s Office Paralegal Specialists Toni Anne Donato and Ty Eaton.

Updated July 7, 2023

Topic
Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 23-373