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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Former Las Vegas Illusionist Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Possession, Receipt, And Distribution Of Child Pornography

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Former Las Vegas illusionist Jan Rouven Fuechtener was sentenced today to 240 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine for possession, receipt, and distribution of more than 9,000 images and videos of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office. Due to this conviction, Fuechtener will be deported from the United States after serving his sentence, and will be barred from returning for any purpose.

“Today’s sentencing is another example of law enforcement’s steadfast commitment to this office’s Project Safe Childhood initiative,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Federal law enforcement, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will aggressively investigate and prosecute those that exploit children. The lengthy prison sentence imposed vindicates the victims of this defendant’s crimes and sends the message that justice was done.”

“We have no greater duty than to protect the most vulnerable among us, and the men and women of the FBI will continue to relentlessly pursue those who seek to harm our children,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “Every time child pornography is viewed on the internet a child is revictimized.”

Fuechtener, who used an online alias of Lars Schmidt, 40, a citizen of Germany, pleaded guilty on Nov. 17, 2016, during his bench trial for the criminal charges. Instead of proceeding with sentencing, he filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea on June 22, 2017. Over the course of a five-day evidentiary hearing, Fuechtener’s former attorneys testified that they had advised him of details of the plea agreement, including potential penalties and consequences of the plea. At the hearing, Fuechtener personally testified and called a fellow inmate, who is also charged with child pornography offenses, to testify on his behalf. The Court believed the testimony of Fuechtener’s former attorneys and denied the motion to withdraw on June 15, 2018.

In his plea agreement, Fuechtener admitted that he shared numerous child pornography files on GigaTribe, a peer-to-peer file sharing program. During the execution of a search warrant of Fuechtener’s residence, law enforcement found over 9,000 images and videos depicting children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. These files were found on nine devices collected from all over Fuechtener’s home. Fuechtener further admitted that he used the Skype username “larusa22” to engage in chats to distribute child pornography by sharing his GigaTribe “Lars45” folder in exchange for watching a father sexually assault his daughter, and that he used Grindr to chat with others about coordinating to drug and sexually molest a young boy.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elham Roohani and Lisa Cartier-Giroux prosecuted the case.

To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child pornography, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children by phone at 1-800-843-5678 or online at www.cybertipline.com.

This case was 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.justice.gov/psc.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated March 1, 2019