An Ontario man pleaded guilty today to multiple counts related to the sexual exploitation of two minor girls, including the unlawful coercion and enticement of the two girls, the production of child pornography, and the extortion of the girls using the Internet, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Field Office, and Chief Michael Patton of the West Bloomfield Police Department.
Antonio P. Fontana, 58, of Pickering, Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson.
As part of the plea, Fontana admitted that, in October 2013, he began coercing and enticing a 15-year-old girl (“Victim 1”) into performing various sexual acts for him in front of an Internet webcam. Fontana first began communicating with the victim on the Internet website Omegle.com, where he was posing as a 16-year-old boy. Fontana recorded many, if not all, of the sexual acts that he forced Victim 1 to perform on an almost daily basis. Fontana threatened to post the recordings of Victim 1 on the Internet and to send them to her friends and family if she did not continue to perform sexual acts for him.
When Victim 1 ultimately attempted to stop speaking to Fontana in late December 2013, Fontana continued to communicate with Victim 1 and her mother in an attempt to coerce Victim 1 into continuing to communicate. At various times in January and February, 2014, Fontana followed through with his threats, sending sexually explicit images of Victim 1 to Victim 1’s mother, her school and her church, including her friends, peers and church administrators.
Fontana also engaged in a similar course of conduct, beginning in November, 2013, with a second minor victim (“Victim 2”), a 14 year-old girl. Both victims were located, at all relevant times, in the Eastern District of Michigan. As part of the plea, Fontana admitted that, in total, he victimized more than five girls.
“The phenomenon of ‘sextortion,’ where child predators use the internet to extort children to pose for pictures and engage in sex acts online, is a growing problem,” McQuade said. “Predators entice young people to pose for compromising pictures, and then use shame to silence the victims from seeking help. Parents should warn their children that you never know who is on the other end of an internet conversation, and to never let shame prevent them from seeking help when they are in trouble.”
"I am particularly pleased with the swift action from our agents, and from our Canadian law enforcement partners, that brought a quick resolution to this case," said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. "We were notified on a Friday of the complaint against Mr. Fontana, and by the following Sunday he had been arrested. That speaks to the phenomenal teamwork that exists between the FBI and our partner organizations, even across international borders."
Fontana has been detained since his arrest, and arrived in the United States following a lengthy extradition from Canada.
According to the plea agreement, Fontana faces a prison sentence of at least fifteen years and up to life in prison.
McQuade praised the work of the Special Agents of the FBI, the officers from the West Bloomfield Police Department and the detectives from the major crime unit of the Durham Regional Police Service, Ontario, Canada. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas Salzenstein and Matthew Roth.