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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 27, 2015

Former Chief Of Mount Pleasant Police Department Pleads Guilty In White Plains Federal Court To Possession Of Child Pornography

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that BRIAN FANELLI, the former Chief of the Mount Pleasant, New York, Police Department, pled guilty today to one count of possession of child pornography.  FANELLI, who was arrested in January 2014, entered his plea before United States District Judge Kenneth M. Karas.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated:  “By his guilty plea to downloading and possessing child pornography, Brian Fanelli, a former police chief who swore to protect and serve, admitted to a crime that victimizes and exploits some of the most vulnerable in our community.” 

According to the Complaint and Indictment:

From at least as early as October 2013, through January 2014, FANELLI used a Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Program (“the “P2P Network”) to download more than 120 files containing images and videos believed to be child pornography; certain of those files were made available to other P2P Network users through FANELLI’s computer’s shared folder on the P2P Network program.  On three occasions, agents with the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), acting in an undercover capacity, used the P2P Network to download from FANELLI’s computer files containing images and videos believed to contain child pornography.           

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FANELLI, 56, of Mahopac, New York, pled guilty to one count of possessing child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The statutory maximum penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Department of Homeland Security.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

The prosecution is being overseen by the Office’s White Plains Division and the Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Anden F. Chow and Andrew D. Goldstein are in charge of the prosecution.

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Press Release Number: 
194
Updated August 10, 2015