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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

St. Paul Man Sentenced to 43 Years in Prison for Targeting More Than 1,100 Minor Victims in Sextortion Scheme

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A St. Paul man was sentenced to 516 months in prison followed by a lifetime term of supervised release for victimizing more than 1,100 minor girls across the country and abroad in an extensive online sextortion scheme, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

“For several years, Yue Vang victimized more than 1,000 young girls – in Minnesota and beyond – through a vicious sextortion scheme. Using popular social media apps to prey on his victims, Vang’s manipulation began with compliments and expressions of flattery, which quickly turned into threats and extortion,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “Today’s 40-year prison sentence shows that the reprehensible crime of child sexual exploitation will not be tolerated.”

“There are few crimes as damaging and traumatic to a young person as sextortion. Vang is a predator who targeted innocent and impressionable young girls, exploiting their innocence for pictures and videos. He robbed them of their childhood and forever altered their lives and the lives of their families,” said Michael Paul, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Minneapolis Division. “This case demonstrates the extensive reach of social media and the irreparable trauma one predatory individual inflicted on over a thousand young girls. However, the ensuing investigation highlights the immense collaboration and dedication of law enforcement partners throughout the country who worked tirelessly to identify the victims and hold Vang accountable for his atrocious crimes.”

According to court documents, for at least five years, Yue Vang, 31, created and used multiple Internet applications and social media services, including Kik, Snapchat, and Skype, to communicate with hundreds of minor girls throughout the United States and elsewhere. Vang created fake female personae to prey on vulnerable minor girls he met online in order to entice and coerce them to create sexually explicit images and videos to send to him. Vang also threatened to disseminate sexually explicit images of the minor victims to their family members, friends, and classmates, unless they created and sent him additional images and videos of themselves nude or engaging in sexually explicit conduct. For example, in June 2016, Vang contacted a 15-year-old girl and threatened to distribute sexually explicit pictures of her to her classmates and parents to “ruin her life” unless she complied with Vang’s demands to send additional sexually explicit images and videos.

On June 2, 2022, Vang pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of interstate communications with intent to extort. Vang was sentenced today in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric C. Tostrud.

To date, at least 750 minor females have been identified, although law enforcement is attempting to confirm the identity of many other victims. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Vang’s offenses or who has information about this matter is encouraged to visit www.fbi.gov/resources/victim-services/seeking-victim-information/seeking-victims-in-yue-vang-investigation or www.Justice.gov/usao-mn/child-sextortion-victim-information.

This case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office and multiple FBI Field Offices, the St. Paul Police Department, the Minnesota ICAC Task Force, the Chandler (Arizona) Police Department, the Delhi Township (Ohio) Police Department, and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea A. Walcker and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated September 14, 2022