Chicago Man Sentenced to 22 Years for Engaging in a Nationwide Online Child Exploitation Enterprise
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Marqueal Bonds, 22, of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced today to 22 years in prison and lifetime supervised release by United States District Court Judge Harvey Bartle, III, for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Bonds was also ordered to pay a total of $33,221 in restitution to various victims.
In March 2020, Bonds pleaded guilty in the middle of trial to charges of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and conspiracy to advertise child pornography. Using Discord, an online communications application that allows users to share files and communicate via chat messages, Bonds and his co-conspirators connected in private chat rooms to discuss how to find children and exploit them to produce child pornography. Bonds and his co-conspirators would also share child pornography on Discord, which included sexual depictions of children as young as toddlers. After discovering evidence of child pornography on Discord’s servers, federal agents executed a search warrant at Bonds’ house, and the defendant confessed to his involvement in this enterprise.
“Bonds and others like him will be held accountable by my Office no matter which dark corners of the Internet they are lurking in,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Bonds and his co-conspirators trolled the Internet on legitimate sites like Snapchat, Periscope, and Live.me for vulnerable victims, tricked these children into believing they were chatting with boys or girls their own ages, and then obtained video and naked photos of them to share on Discord. Today’s lengthy sentence ensures that Bonds is out of business and serves as a warning to anybody who would consider exploiting children via the Internet.”
“Marqueal Bonds manipulated underage girls into providing explicit images of themselves,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He and his co-conspirators teamed up to sexually exploit children across the country and share the vile results. These are predators who harmed young girls without a second thought. Locking them up ensures they won’t be victimizing anyone else.”
This 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 the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Kevin Jayne and Trial Attorney Kaylynn Foulon, of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.