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Press Release

Former Servicemember Sentenced to 30 Years for Directing Minors to Produce Child Pornography

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Surprise, Arizona, man was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for production of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

According to court documents, from summer of 2021 through March 2022, Elliott Velez, 38, used over 28 known fictitious social media accounts across multiple platforms to engage in sexually graphic conversations with girls under the age of 18. During these conversations with the victims, Velez would instruct them to engage in sexually explicit conduct, take photos or videos, and send the images to him. Velez would give explicit instructions on what he wanted them to do and who he wanted them to engage in sexually explicit conduct with, including other underage individuals. Review of just one account during the span of just one week Velez had engaged in over 7,000 lines of sexually graphic conversations with minors. Velez would use a recording device on his phone to ensure that he could keep these videos and images without the victim’s knowledge.

Velez was an active-duty Senior Master Sergeant in the Air Force who was located in Newport News during the time of his illegal conduct.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Derek W. Gordon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Devon Heath prosecuted the case.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Norfolk Child Exploitation Task Force (NCETF), as part of Project Safe Childhood. The NCETF is composed of FBI agents and detectives from the Chesapeake Police Department, Hampton Police Division, and Newport News Police Department. Assistance in this matter was also provided by federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children. Tips regarding child exploitation can be provided to the task force at 1-800-CALL-FBI or

In 2021, EDVA launched “UnMasked,” a community-based educational outreach and prevention program in Virginia dedicated to raising awareness and educating the community about the prevalence of online sexual exploitation involving children and young adults. UnMasked is a multi-disciplinary partnership of local, state, federal, and non-profit stakeholders. The core curriculum is provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) NetSmartz program. To report an incident involving online sexual exploitation, call 1-800-843-5678 or submit a report at To request an UnMasked event at your school or organization, please contact EDVA’s Community Outreach Coordinator at

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:22-cr-28.

Updated March 24, 2023

Project Safe Childhood