New York Man Convicted Of Production Of Child Pornography, Interstate Travel To Engage In Illicit Sexual Conduct
NEWARK, N.J. – A Warwick, New York, man was convicted by a federal jury today of coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct and traveling from New York to Passaic County, New Jersey, to have sexual intercourse with another minor, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Clifford W. Wares, 43, was convicted of all six counts of an indictment charging him with one count of production of child pornography, one count of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct, two counts of online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of interstate extortionate threat. Wares was convicted following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning the verdict.
According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:
From June 2011 through October 2011, Wares used email, telephone and Facebook to communicate with a 13-year-old girl in Passaic County (“Victim 1”). Wares used a fake Facebook account to pretend to be another minor who was known to Victim 1 and introduce himself as someone with whom Victim 1 should communicate. Afterwards, Wares sent Victim 1 pornographic images and engaged in sexually explicit communications, ultimately asking that she send him images and videos of herself nude or engaging in sex acts, which she did. On occasions when she did not comply, Wares threatened to distribute nude images of Victim 1 to her parents and friends.
In June 2011, Wares met a 14-year-old girl residing in Passaic County (“Victim 2”) via an online social network. From June 2011 through August 2011, Wares regularly engaged in sexually explicit communications with Victim 2, sent her pornographic images and told her that he was interested in “hanging out” with her. Wares then drove from his home in Warwick, New York, to Passaic County where he picked her up in his vehicle. Wares engaged in sex acts with Victim 2 in a nearby park. After a second encounter, Wares threatened to harm Victim 2’s reputation and property when she refused to meet him again.
Wares was ultimately apprehended after a search for him was conducted via land and helicopter in an Orange County, New York park. Among his possessions upon his arrest were a roll of duct tape, a pair of handcuffs, a knife, and a handwritten list of the names of other minors who were known to Victims 1 and 2.
The charge of production of child pornography carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison. The charge of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison. The counts of online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual conduct each carry a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. The interstate extortionate threat counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison. Each of the above charges is also punishable by a potential $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 27, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited Special Agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New York State Police with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danielle Alfonzo Walsman and Meredith J. Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Thomas Ambrosio Esq., Lyndhurst, New Jersey.