New York For-Hire Vehicle Driver Admits Federal Sex Crimes
CAMDEN, N.J. – A New York man today admitted to enticing a minor and transporting the minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity, and to receiving images of child sexual abuse from another minor, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Richard Gabriel Piedra Ordonez, 36, of Queens, New York, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to a three-count information charging him with one count of coercion and enticement of a minor; one count of transporting a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity; and one count of receiving child pornography.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In April 2019, Piedra began communicating with a New Jersey resident who was under the age of 16 using Snapchat and other social media and messaging platforms. Piedra was aware of the minor’s age and misrepresented his own age as 19 when he was actually 35 years old. Over the course of the subsequent months, Piedra and the victim met in person and engaged in a sexual relationship. Piedra traveled to New Jersey to have sex with the victim and twice drove the victim to his home in New York City, where they engaged in sexual activity.
Federal law enforcement agents executing a search warrant on Piedra’s residence in December 2019 found sexually explicit images and videos of minors on a hard drive located in Piedra’s bedroom. Further investigation revealed that, in 2017, Piedra had communicated with an Indiana resident who was under the age of 15 using various social media and messaging platforms. Piedra was aware of the minor’s age and misrepresented his own age as 19 years old. Piedra requested and received sexually explicit images and videos from this victim.
The count of transporting a minor carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The count of coercion and enticement carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The count of receiving child pornography carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 years, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine. Piedra will be required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents with FBI’s Atlantic City Child Exploitation & Human Trafficking Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner, and the N.J State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland, for its assistance with the investigation.
The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: James J. Leonard, Esq., Atlantic City, New Jersey