Eight Men Sentenced for Their Roles in an International Child Pornography Production Ring
Eight men from around the country were sentenced today and yesterday for participating in an international child pornography production ring, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan, and Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.
- Christian Maire, age 40 Binghamton, New York, was sentenced to 40 years
- Arthur Simpatico, age 47 Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 38 years
- Jonathan Negroni Rodriguez, age 37 West Hollywood, California, was sentenced to 35 years
- Michal Figura, age 36 Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 31 ¼ years
- Odell Ortega, age 37 Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 37 ½ years
- Brett Jonathan Sinta, age 36 Hickory, North Carolina, was sentenced to 30 ½ years
- Caleb Young, age 38 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 years
- Daniel Walton, age 34 Saginaw, Texas, was sentenced to 30 ½ years
In addition to their prison sentences and terms of supervised release, all of the defendants were ordered to pay $5000 in restitution to each of the identified victims, reaching a total of over one million dollars. United States District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III of the Eastern District of Michigan imposed the sentences.
According to court records, these eight men worked together from 2012 through 2017, with other men both inside and outside of the United States, to lure juvenile girls to an unmonitored video chat website and then sexually exploit them. The men recruited the victims from common social media platforms by pretending to be teenage boys interested in chatting with the girls in real time. Once the victims arrived in the chatrooms, the group—all pretending to be teenagers—worked together to build trust and convince the children to engage in sexually explicit conduct on web cameras. Group members then recorded that activity. The girls were unaware that the men were making recordings, or what they dubbed “captures,” of the sexual activity.
Through their scheme, the group successfully targeted hundreds of minors, some as young as ten years old. The forensic examination of their devices recovered over 450,000 child exploitive and child pornography videos of these minors, some of whom were present for the sentencing hearing and made statements to the Court. Still other victims have not been identified. The FBI has so-far identified more than two dozen victims in the United States.
“These predators committed truly horrific crimes against innocent girls and they deserve decades in prison. Shockingly, some of these defendants have young children themselves,” said United States Attorney Schneider. “Parents, please speak with your children about the dangers of chatting online so we can keep all of our children safe.”
“Those who abuse children by enticing them to produce pornographic images of themselves cause grave harm to their victims and to our community,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Slater. “The FBI, our partners in the SEMTEC task force, and our global law enforcement network will continue to work together to identify these criminal networks and aggressively pursue charges against those who victimize and exploit innocent children.”
Assistant United States Attorneys April Russo and Kevin Mulcahy of the Eastern District of Michigan prosecuted the case. The FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes task force investigated the case.
The 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.