Wilmington Man Pleads Guilty In Child Pornography Case
RALEIGH – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today TODD BALO, 48,pled guilty before Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2).
On November 23, 2013, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment charging BALO.
According to the investigation, in November, 2012, law enforcement received a tip regarding an IP address in the Wilmington area receiving child pornography via the peer-to-peer network, Gigatribe. As the investigation progressed, the address and user were identified as BALO. BALO was interviewed and admitted that over the past seven years, he had used Gigatribe to share files with others, to include child pornography that included “very young” children. Law enforcement located and seized 14 computer hard drives, a laptop computer, a thumbdrive, and several cell phones. Forensic analysis found in excess of 7,000 images and 260 videos of child pornography.
At sentencing, scheduled for December 1, 2014, BALO faces up to 20 years imprisonment. If BALO has prior convictions relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, abusive sexual conduct involving a minor or ward, sex trafficking of children, or the production, possession, receipt, sale, distribution, shipment or transportation of child pornography, the penalty increases to up to 40 years imprisonment.
The criminal investigation of this case was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes is handling the prosecution on behalf of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.