St. Lucie County Resident Pleads Guilty to Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography
A St. Lucie County resident pled guilty yesterday to distributing and possessing child pornography.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and William Snyder, Sheriff, Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), made the announcement.
Michael Joseph Roth, 46, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pled guilty before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch Jr., in Fort Pierce, Florida to the charges of distribution and possession of material containing visual depictions of sexual exploitation of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1) and 2252 (a)(4)(B) and (b)(2). Roth faces a mandatory minimum of five years’ up to a twenty-year maximum term of imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release. In addition, Roth will be required to register as a sex offender.
According to Court records, including a stipulated factual basis in support of Roth’s guilty plea, on March 7, 2016, an undercover investigator (UC) with the Swiss Federal Police, utilizing a peer to peer file (P2P) sharing network established contact with user “Lindamom76”. “Lindamom76” shared material in four encrypted folders with the Swiss UC, by providing his password during a chat conversation. As a result, the Swiss UC was able to download picture and video files depicting child pornography. Law enforcement traced the internet protocol (IP) address of “Lindamom76” to Roth in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
On May 20, 2016, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Roth’s residence and seized a laptop computer and a tower PC, containing the P2P software. During an interview, Roth admitted that he used the P2P software and user name “Lindamom76.”
A forensic examination of the computer revealed Roth’s communications with the Swiss UC on March 7, 2016. Additional chats were found wherein Roth, using an assumed identify of a mother of two teenage daughters, requested child pornography depicting incest, young girls, and pregnant teens. In discovered chats with other P2P users, Roth discussed password requests in order to distribute, receive and trade images of child pornography.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, MCSO and the Swiss Federal Police for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.