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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Man Convicted at Trial in Miami of Orchestrating Snapchat Sextortion Ring that Targeted Children

U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Chief W. Howard Harrison of the Planation Police Department, and Chief Dale Engle of the Davie Police Department, announced that on Sept. 27, 2019, a federal jury in Miami, Florida convicted Joseph Isaiah Woodson, Jr., 30, of Ashburn, Virginia, of using the internet to target and extort children through sexual exploitation (“sextortion”) and pornographic offenses.

Woodson, Jr. was convicted at trial on three counts of Production of Child Pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a) and 2251(e), one count of Distribution of Child Pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2), one count of Sending Extortionate Threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(d), and one count of Conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 (Case No. 18cr60256).  Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez.  The defendant faces a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 117 years in prison.

According to the evidence presented at trial, beginning in October 2017 through September 2018, Woodson. Jr. persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced numerous minor female children across the country to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct using the camera on their cellular telephones. Woodson, Jr. infiltrated the Snapchat accounts of these children by pretending to be one of their friends on social media.  Once given the passwords, Woodson, Jr. took over the victims’ Snapchat accounts and demanded the children send him sexually explicit videos and images of themselves using the web based texting application “KIK” in order to get back and regain control of their accounts.  Woodson, Jr. conspired with others to systematically extort and exploit children using the internet.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of FBI Miami’s Child Exploitation Task Force, in partnership with the Davie Police Department and Plantation Police Department. Coral Springs Police Department, Fairfax City Police Department, FBI Dallas, FBI Indianapolis, FBI Operation Rescue Me, FBI Technical Analysis Unit, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command all assisted with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jodi L. Anton and Francis Viamontes.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated October 2, 2019