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Press Release

Real Estate Agent Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Sexually Exploit Children

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – A real estate agent was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for conspiring to sexually exploit children, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Angie M. Salazar, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detroit Field Office.

Dennis Michael Putman, age 60, of Warren, Michigan, was sentenced by United States District Judge Sean F. Cox. As part of his guilty plea, Putman had admitted that he used the WhatsApp messaging application to conspire with another individual to produce sexually explicit images of minors, with his co-conspirator producing and sending to him at least one video of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Law enforcement officers discovered this offense when searching Putman’s residence as part of a drug investigation. Putman cooperated regarding his role in the drug offense and directed officers to look at his WhatsApp account for drug-related messages. In the application, officers found sexually explicit conversations with his co-conspirator regarding the exploitation of children and a sexually explicit video of a minor.

An investigation later determined that these conversations continued for nearly two months, with Putman frequently demanding that his co-conspirator produce sexually explicit images of young minors that frequently were in her care. Putman—who was employed as a real estate agent—secured his drug-addicted and impoverished co-conspirator’s involvement in part by frequently paying her small sums of money.   

“This defendant took advantage of his co-conspirator’s drug addiction and mental health issues to cause the exploitation of children. This sentence reflects his role in this disturbing crime,” U.S. Attorney Ison said.

“Predators who seek to exploit children, whether by themselves or through others, will be caught and brought to justice,” said HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Angie M. Salazar. “I’m proud of the law enforcement partners and prosecutors who helped remove this threat to our communities.”

This case was investigated by the County of Macomb Enforcement Team (COMET) and Homeland Security Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Rawsthorne.

Updated May 31, 2023

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