Saratoga Springs Man Admits Receiving Child Pornography Over Encrypted Messaging Application
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Benjamin J. Varieur, age 33, of Saratoga Springs, New York, and formerly of Brunswick, New York, pled guilty today to receiving child pornography via an encrypted messaging application on his phone.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
As part of his guilty plea, Varieur admitted that from March 22, 2018 to March 25, 2018, he used the Wickr Me messaging application to receive child pornography over the internet from another man. Varieur, using the name “bigman6012,” requested and received dozens of images of child pornography, including images depicting the sexual abuse of children as young as 2 years old.
Varieur, who has been detained since his arrest in April, faces at least 5 years and up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, when he is sentenced in January by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. Varieur would also have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI and its Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Colonie Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Barnett.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.